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Missouri AG Withdraws Ban on Gender-Affirming for Both Youth and Adults

Missouri AG Withdraws Ban on Gender-Affirming for Both Youth and Adults

Missouri AG Andrew Bailey
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Andrew Bailey's emergency rule has been blocked in court, but now the state is set to enact a ban on this care for minors and certain adults.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has withdrawn his emergency rule that banned gender-affirming health care for transgender people of all ages.

It had already been blocked until July by a St. Louis County judge while a lawsuit proceeds, and some of Bailey’s critics say he recognized he was fighting a losing battle. But Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican like Bailey, is expected to sign a bill into law that would ban the care for trans minors and certain adults.

However, Bailey’s rule, which he announced in March and filed with the secretary of state the following month, would ban gender-affirming care for all trans adults as well as minors. In the document laying out the policy, he said these treatments “lack solid evidentiary support” and “pose very serious side effects,” none of which is true. The care, including puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery — with genital surgery recommended for adults only — are endorsed by every major medical association.

Bailey’s policy also “included a new therapy requirement that created an 18-month waiting period for care,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes. It “would have made Missouri the first state to greatly restrict care for transgender adults,” the paper reports.

The attorney general withdrew the rule Tuesday and issued a statement his rationale, saying, “We were standing in the gap unless and until the General Assembly decided to take action on this issue,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

Both houses of the Missouri legislature have now passed Senate Bill 49, which would ban gender-affirming care for trans minors as well as all incarcerated people in the state and those who receive care under Missouri’s Medicaid program. Violation would be considered unprofessional conduct and result in revocation of a health care provider’s license.

Bailey’s rule was widely criticized by LGBTQ+ rights advocates and Democratic politicians. “Andrew Bailey grossly overstepped his legal authority, and everyone knows it,” said a statement from House Minority Leader Crystal Quade. “So it isn’t surprising he withdrew his unconstitutional rule knowing another embarrassing court defeat was inevitable.”

Republicans hadn’t expressed much support for Bailey’s action either, the Post-Dispatch reports. Parson had said he didn’t favor the ban on care for adults, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, who is seeking to replace the term-limited governor next year, “predicted the rules would never actually take effect,” according to the paper.

Lambda Legal, which brought the suit challenging the rule along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and a private law firm, noted that trans people are still endangered in the state.

“While the immediate threat and unprecedented reach of the Attorney General’s emergency rule will end, we are fully aware that the Missouri Legislature continues to train its sights on Missouri’s trans community,” Nora Huppert, staff attorney at Lambda Legal, said in a statement. “SB 49 would deny adolescent transgender Missourians access to evidence-based treatment supported by the overwhelming medical consensus. The fight against these dangerous and unprecedented attacks is far from over.”

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