If, like us, you were hoping that we could maybe lay off the anti-transgender legislation in 2023, we have some bad news: Oklahoma Republicans still exist.
SB 129, a new bill introduced by Oklahoma state senator David Bullard on Wednesday, would prohibit medical professionals in the state from providing gender-affirming care to anyone under 26 years old. The bill also prohibits providers or hospitals who provide such care from receiving government funding, and allows individuals to pursue legal action up to 40 years after receiving gender-affirming care — a clause designed to encourage people who regret transitioning, like new right-wing darling Chloe Cole, to go after doctors who Republicans like Bullard claim are “mutilating” other kids.
A medical provider who still offers gender-affirming care to those under 26 could be found guilty of a felony, which in Oklahoma carries penalties including a $1,000 fine or two years in prison. As with many previous bills of this bent, Bullard carves out an exception for nonconsensual surgeries performed on intersex children.
Though Republicans have been inching towards criminalizing gender-affirming care for adults at least since last year, Bullard’s 26-year cutoff is the most extreme measure yet to see the light of day.
Bullard has titled his legislation “The Millstone Act of 2023,” apparently in reference to the Bible verse Luke 17:2, which posits it is “better for him if a millstone is hung around his neck and he is thrown into the sea” than to cause children to “sin.” As The Hill noted, the concept was introduced last year by Pastors for Trump founder and unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate Jackson Lahmeyer, who promised to introduce a “Millstone Act” to cut off funding for “any school district in America that teaches critical race theory or woke sexuality.”
A similar bill authored by Rep. Jim Olsen in December will be introduced at the first session of the Oklahoma House in February. HB 1011 would place an age restriction of 21 on gender-affirming care, five years earlier than Bullard’s bill, but would allow courts to hand down a sentence of up to ten years in prison and fines up to $100,000 to any providers who violate the act.
“Trans people deserve best practice medical care,” wrote a spokesperson for LGBTQ+ and two-spirit advocacy group Equality Oklahoma on Twitter Wednesday. “These bills are cruel, political tactics meant to scare doctors into limiting best practice care, and push trans people out of Oklahoma.”