State Watch

Oklahoma ‘Millstone Act’ seeks to ban gender-affirming care under age of 26

A Progress Pride flag and rainbow flags are seen at the Stonewall National Monument, the first US national monument dedicated to LGBTQ history and rights, marking the birthplace of the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights movement, on June 1, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP)

An Oklahoma senate bill filed late Wednesday would prevent a person under the age of 26 from accessing gender-affirming health care, the latest sign that conservatives are seeking to block the procedure for not only children, but people well into adulthood.

The bill filed ahead of the legislature’s February start would bar health care providers in Oklahoma from administering or recommending gender-affirming medical care including puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries for patients younger than 26 years old, punishable by an unclassified felony conviction and the possible revocation of their medical license for “unprofessional conduct.”

The measure would also prohibit public funds from being used to either “directly or indirectly” provide gender-affirming health care to an individual younger than 26 and bar the state Medicaid program from covering procedures related to a person’s gender transition.

The legislation being introduced by Oklahoma GOP state Sen. David Bullard, who last year authored a new state law that prohibits transgender youth from using school restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit  on behalf of three transgender students against that law.

The bill filed Wednesday is titled the “Millstone Act of 2023” – a reference to a Bible passage that a person would be better off tying a large boulder around their neck to “be drowned in the depths of the sea” than harm a child.

The reference was first made in April when conservative pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, who earlier this year tried unsuccessfully to unseat Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), pledged during an interview with the far-right news network Real America’s Voice to introduce his own “Millstone Act” that would cut off funding to “any school district in America that teaches critical race theory or woke sexuality.”

With Bullard’s proposal, Oklahoma joins nearly a dozen other states seeking to heavily restrict or ban access to gender-affirming health care for transgender youth and adults in 2023.

Another Oklahoma bill filed in December aims to bar physicians from providing “gender transition procedures” to patients younger than 21 years old, punishable by a $100,000 fine and up to a decade in prison.

Tags Jackson Lahmeyer LGBTQ rights Millstone Act Oklahoma Transgender care

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