General News

Iowa and Oklahoma propose bills against gender-affirming healthcare

Rachel Badham January 29, 2021

Both Iowa and Oklahoma have proposed bills which would prevent young trans people from accessing gender-affirming medical treatment. In Oklahoma, Bill SB 676 would make it “unlawful for a person under the age of 21 years to undergo gender reassignment medical treatment in this state”. It’s sole sponsor is state senator Warren Hamilton, who is known to oppose LGBTQ+ rights. Meanwhile, a similar bill has been proposed in Iowa, with state representative Sandy Salmon saying trans youth will ‘outgrow’ their gender identity. Both bills aim to impose fines on medical professionals who offer gender-affirming healthcare to under 21s. 

The Human Rights Watch spoke out against the bill in Oklahoma, saying in a statement that gender-affirming healthcare is essential for the wellbeing of trans youth: “Such treatment can alleviate gender dysphoria and postpone puberty to give children time to explore their gender identity…Whether puberty blockers or steps toward medical transition are appropriate for a given child is a deeply personal determination. For kids who need them, foreclosing these options is a violation of their bodily autonomy and their right to health.”

A handful of other US states have recently proposed anti-trans bills, which could limit trans people’s access to healthcare and school facilities. Lower legislators in Montana just passed House Bill 112 and House Bill 113, with the aim of banning trans athletes in public schools from participating in sporting categories which align with their gender identity, and  prohibiting gender-affirming health care for trans people under 21, with doctors risking a $50,000 fine for violating the regulations. Caitlin Borgmann, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Montana, is concerned about the effect these bills could have on trans youth, saying they “will cause them serious and lasting harm.”