While a number of states have either passed or are working on laws blocking transgender medical procedures for children, Oklahoma is trying to expand that effort to another level. One new piece of legislation submitted by State Sen. David Bullard would essentially ban all medical “gender-affirming care” for patients under the age of 26, a significantly higher bar than the age of 18 cited in most other states. The bill was dubbed the “Millstone Act” and it’s almost certain to draw a court challenge as soon as it goes into the books. And this is one situation where I believe that any potential plaintiffs between the ages of 18 and 25 who challenge the law may prove successful in court. (Townhall)

The Oklahoma legislation moves to ban “gender-affirming care” for adults under the age of 26, arguing that a person’s brain isn’t fully formed until the age of 25.

Dubbed the Millstone Act, the bill states that “a physician or other healthcare professional shall not provide gender transition procedures to any individual under twenty-six (26) years of age.”

Healthcare providers will not be allowed to administer or recommend medical care related to gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers, hormone medication, and surgeries.

Interestingly, the legislation wasn’t named after someone named Millstone. The name comes from a passage from the Bible, specifically Matthew 18:6 from the New King James Version. It reads, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (One of the harsher passages in the Good Book.)

The reference to “little ones” is significant and it’s part of the reason that this legislation may not ultimately succeed. As I already mentioned, most states implementing laws like this put the minimum age for such medical treatments at 18. Children, defined as being under the age of 18, are unable to give informed consent for medical procedures and many other things.

This bill specifies a minimum age of 26 based on an increasingly popular belief in the medical community that the prefrontal cortex of the brain doesn’t fully finish forming until the age of 25. That’s important because the prefrontal cortex controls “executive brain functions” such as complex behavioral performance.

But if Oklahoma is allowed to enshrine that concept into law it could have a number of unintended consequences. If adults aren’t mature enough to make medical decisions until they are 26, what else might they be barred from doing? Will they be able to purchase and consume alcohol or use tobacco? Can they enlist in the military and put their life on the line for their country? Can they even safely operate a motor vehicle? And even if we’re somehow limiting this restriction to medical procedures, only transgender “treatment” is banned under this law. Can a 25-year-old consent to having a dentist pull a tooth or have a bursting appendix removed without a note from their parents? I can see how the courts may take a dim view of this narrow band of restrictions.

Personally, I’m fine with the age limit being set at 18. As I’ve repeatedly said over the course of this debate, if you’re an adult and you want to have your genitals surgically removed or mutilated and can find a doctor to do it for you, go for it. As long as you’re willing to accept the consequences of your decisions, you can have surgery to make yourself look like a snake for all I care. (Yes, someone actually did that.) But we have an obligation to protect the children of this country. And irreversible surgeries, hormone injections, and puberty blockers cause real harm that can never be fully undone. If Oklahoma dials back the minimum age by eight years, I think they’ll have a much better chance of having the law hold up and they would be acting in a manner consistent with other minimum age laws.

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