The controversy is about the stipulation.
OU Health would need to stop performing gender-affirming procedures on minors in order to receive this money.
This would include puberty blockers and surgery to alter a child’s physical appearance to match their gender identity.
On Tuesday, the health care system confirmed in a statement that the system is “proactively planning the ceasing of certain gender medicine services” at its facilities.
During Thursday’s Senate vote, dozens of Oklahomans were in attendance listening to legislators.
“What we are doing here is protecting values in Oklahoma that we hold dear – many of us hold dear – that this is inappropriate,” said Greg Treat, Republican Senate President Pro Tem.
Republicans did not agree with the idea of performing medical procedures on youth, even though parents are the ones that consult with a doctor and their child before approving any procedures.
Democrats had questions for Pro Tem Treat.
“We are telling parents that they cannot have their children receive this treatment, are we not,” asked Kay Floyd.
“Same as tattoos, same as contracts, same as alcohol, same as cigarettes, yes,” responded Greg Treat.
After the Senate passed the bill 33-11 with an emergency clause, meaning it would go into effect once the Governor signed it, emotions from the gallery were high.
“They seem to think that taking away all of these things from trans children will just make them not trans anymore,” said Sarah Bell-Wilson, a trans parent to a trans child. “It won’t make them not trans, it will make them dead.”
Along with parents, there were over 25 doctors in attendance.
“We are promoting improved health and improved mental wellbeing and survival,” said Shauna Lawlis, a pediatric physician with patients that are trans-youth.
Lawlis became emotional when talking about what Thursday’s bill means for her patients.
“I want my patients to know that we support them and that even though we don’t think things will go our way and that they will probably really struggle to find care in the state, that we do care about them and that we are fighting for them,” said Lawlis.
Senate Bill 3 was later heard in the House.
There was debate for about two hours on the House floor, but it eventually passed.
The bill now heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk.