Legislation to restrict access to medical care for transgender children, such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries, has been stalled for weeks in the Republican-controlled General Assembly over disagreement over whether to include exceptions.
Current recipients of hormone therapy or puberty delay medication in Missouri may keep using their medications, and the bill’s restrictions on such therapies will be lifted in 2027. The legislation would also prohibit jail inmates from undergoing gender change surgery.
On Wednesday, legislators in Missouri also approved a measure that would prevent transgender women and girls from participating in sports leagues for their gender.
It’s not the first time this year that Missouri has tried to restrict transgender access to healthcare.
Missouri’s Republican attorney general, Andrew Bailey, attempted to utilise the state’s consumer protection statute to severely limit, but not completely prohibit, transition therapies, when most other states have made their adjustments via legislation. Unlike past initiatives by Republicans this year to prohibit gender-transitioning therapies, Mr. Bailey’s would have extended to both juveniles and adults.
Mr. Bailey was supposed to implement an emergency regulation last month, but a state court stopped enforcement just hours before it was supposed to take effect.
The Missouri measure is part of a wave of Republican legislation around the country that threatens transition services for transgender youngsters. At least thirteen states have taken action this year to prohibit or severely restrict access to such therapies.
Several lawsuits have been filed because of the quick changes in the legislation that have made transition treatment unaffordable for many transgender youngsters in the Midwest and the South.
New restrictions on minors’ access to transition care have been enacted this year in many states bordering Missouri, including Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. There were not enough votes to overcome the Democratic governor of Kansas’s veto of a bill that would have outlawed care for minors.
Republicans who back the proposals believe they are attempting to prevent young people from making rash, maybe irreversible choices. The American Academy of Paediatrics is only one of several reputable medical groups that supports gender-transitioning treatment and has warned that restrictions endanger the mental health of young people and violate the rights of both physicians and parents.
The measures will soon be presented to Republican Governor Mike Parson, who has told local media he approves of the new regulations.
Separately, this summer a state court in St. Louis County is expected to hear arguments on whether to temporarily block the attorney general’s regulation restricting transgender treatment for persons of all ages.