An Oklahoma pediatric hospital has decided to stop offering gender-related services after it was threatened with losing millions in funding.
Oklahoma Children’s Hospital announced Tuesday it will cease “certain gender-specific medical services” in order to maintain funding for its new pediatric mental health facility.
“The Legislature prohibited funds from being used for facilities that provide gender medicine services. The purpose of the new mental-and behavioral healthcare facility was not to fund these services. The OU Health Senior Leadership Team has already developed a plan to end certain gender medicine services at its facilities.”
Oklahoma Children’s Hospital is a part of OU Health, the University of Oklahoma’s health care system.
House Bill 1007, a bill that required the hospital not to offer gender surgery to maintain funding, meant that the hospital was at risk of losing $39.4million in American Rescue Plan money.
Oklahoma Republicans indicated that they would donate the money to OU Health in order to help fund its new pediatric mental health hospital. The money cannot be used for “gender reassignment therapy” for minors. This includes treatments to reduce secondary sex characteristics, and to “align the patient’s body with their gender identity.”
Oklahoma Children’s Hospital claims to offer a variety of gender services, including “pausing puberty”, managing gender-affirming hormonal therapy, and “helping find surgeons who perform gender-affirming surgery.”
Randy Randleman is a Republican State Representative who stressed that behavioral health should be a top priority.
It’s more than cutting out services. Randleman told KOCO 5 Tuesday that it’s about acknowledging the need for dysfunctional families and the behavior problems people have.
Rep. Kevin West (Republican representing Oklahoma City) also supported the bill.
West stated, “I am thankful for the language in the bill that protected children from gender reassignment treatment. ”
However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma (“ACLU”) criticized the state for its actions.
Cindy Nguyen, Policy Director at ACLU of Oklahoma, stated that legislators believe that the mental and physical health of trans youth and 2SLGBTQ+ teens is essentially a bargaining instrument they can use.
Gender surgery for minors is a problem in many children’s hospitals.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center offers “gender-affirming double mastectomy” for minor girls. They offer minors puberty blockers and cross-sex hormonal treatments.
The practice was condemned after shocking videos were released by a Vanderbilt doctor who called some transgender surgeries “huge money-makers”. A Vanderbilt lawyer called transgender surgery objections “problematic “.
For females aged 15 and over who identify as men, the Center for Gender Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital offers gender surgery on the chest with parental consent.