One pediatric hospital out in Oklahoma will no longer be offering gender-related medical services in the wake of the state threatening to cut millions of dollars in government funding.
This past Tuesday, an announcement was issued by Oklahoma Children’s Hospital about its current plan to cut “certain gender medicine services” in order to maintain funding for its brand new pediatric mental health facility.
“The Legislature restricted the use of the funds from benefitting facilities performing certain gender medicine services. The new mental and behavioral health facility was never intended to provide such care. The OU Health Senior Leadership team is proactively planning the ceasing of certain gender medicine services across our facilities and that plan is already under development,” expressed a release from OU Health.
Oklahoma Children’s is a segment of OU Health, the University of Oklahoma’s health system.
The hospital is slated to lose close to $40 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan due to a recent bill, House Bill 1007, which forces the hospital to stop offering gender surgeries as a way to ensure that it retains its federal funding.
Republicans in Oklahoma state that they wanted to give the funds to OU Health in order to fund its new pediatric mental health hospital, but the money cannot be utilized for “gender reassignment medical treatment” for minors, which includes interventions to try and suppress the development of secondary sex characteristics or even to “align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity.”
Oklahoma Children’s Hospital currently carries out various services regarding gender, including ” pausing puberty,” “managing gender-affirming hormone therapy,” and “helping find surgeons who perform gender-affirming surgeries,” as explained via its website.
Rep. Randy Randleman, a state Republican, pointed out that behavioral health is a top priority currently.
“It’s not cutting anybody out for services. It’s saying we have such a need for behavior problems and families being dysfunctional that we want this individual money to be focused on that to get us back to where we should be,” stated Randleman in a Tuesday statement to KOCO 5.
Rep. Kevin West, another state Republican legislator, who stands for Oklahoma City, stood behind the bill in defense.
“I’m thankful for language in this bill that protects children from the practice of mutilation through gender reassignment medical treatment,” stated West. “This unbelievably harmful practice cannot be reversed, and has lasting physical and psychological consequences that can damage these children for the rest of their lives.”
As all of this takes place, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma went off on the state for its methods.
“Legislatures seem to believe that the health care and mental health of trans and 2SLGBTQ-plus youth is essentially a bargaining chip they can use,” stated the policy director at ACLU of Oklahoma, Cindy Nguyen.