What Lawmakers Did and Didn\’t Do for Healthcare Professionals, Patients – Oklahoma Watch

House and Senate Republicans moved quickly to advance a bill banning some health care for transgender youth, but measures that clarify or carve out exceptions to the state\’s near-total abortion ban have stalled at the moment. start of the legislative process.

Here\’s a look at what state lawmakers did and didn\’t do on health care policy during 2023, which concluded on Friday:

The big impact: Lawmakers have approved a bill barring Oklahomans ages 18 and younger from receiving gender-affirming care, although the state attorney general\’s office has agreed to delay enforcing it while it is pending. a lawsuit contesting the measure was pending.

Senate Bill 613 bans health care professionals from performing transition surgery and giving puberty blockers to children and adolescents 17 years of age and younger. Physicians suspected of violating the terms of the law can be charged with a felony, face civil action and risk losing their professional license.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit earlier this month seeking to overturn SB613, saying it unfairly targets transgender youth and violates their right to health care under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Attorney General Gentner Drummond agreed last week to temporarily halt the enforcement of the measure, saying in a statement that the pause will give the state time to mount the strongest possible defense as the case progresses through federal court.

Federal judges temporarily blocked similar health care bans on transgender youth approved in Arkansas and Alabama.

Also notable: Starting in November, fentanyl test strips will be added to a list of items excluded from classification as drug paraphernalia.

The 1987 House Bill aims to prevent overdoses and help users who are trying to break an addiction, said lead author Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City. Fentanyl overdoses killed 300 people statewide in 2021, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, up from 47 in 2019.

Oklahoma is facing a major addiction crisis, and synthetic fentanyl is extremely lethal,” Dollens said in an April statement. “The hope of this bill is to save vulnerable Oklahomas who are struggling with addiction. \”.

Left behind: Bills that would have carved out new exceptions to Oklahoma\’s near-total abortion ban have not moved forward.

Among the measures are House Bill 2088, which would allow a doctor to terminate a pregnancy if the fetus has no medical chance of survival, and Senate Bill 834, which would make exceptions for rape and incest.

Senate Bill 368, which sought to codify women\’s access to birth control, cleared the House and Senate but stalled in a conference committee.

In a March decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that Oklahomaians have the right to a life-saving abortion whether or not there is an imminent medical emergency. Abortion rights groups have expressed concern about hospitals providing conflicting information about pregnancy-related emergencies.


Keaton Ross is a member of the Report for America body covering democracy for Oklahoma Watch. Contact him at (405) 831-9753 or Kross@Oklahomawatch.org. Follow him on Twitter at @_KeatonRoss.


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