The ban on gender-affirming care or transgender health care for the youth is ongoing, as multiple states have already passed this law. Andrew Bailey, the Missouri Attorney General, has announced that his office will file an emergency regulation to restrict access to gender-affirming care for minors.
The new regulations will require doctors to observe an 18-month waiting period, undergo 15-hour-long therapy sessions, and treat any mental illnesses before providing gender-related care to transgender children.
A Law to Ban Transgender Care in Missouri
According to Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, the move is seen as an attempt to circumvent the Republican-led Legislature, which has debated but not passed legislation to restrict transgender health care for minors, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgeries.
The emergency regulation had yet to be filed with the secretary of state's office as of late Monday, according to JoDonn Chaney, spokesman for Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. Bailey's announcement coincided with state lawmakers returning to work after a one-week spring break and hundreds of anti-transgender healthcare legislation supporters gathering in the Capitol Rotunda for a rally.
The regulation also requires doctors to disclose information about puberty blocker drugs. In the report in Associated Press News, the information will include that these drugs are experimental, the FDA has yet to approve it and also that the FDA has warned they can lead to brain swelling and blindness.
While puberty blockers and hormones are not FDA-approved for transgender care, they are often "off-label," which is an accepted and permitted practice in these cases. This is not the first time Bailey has taken a stance on transgender healthcare since taking office in January.
Also Read: Europe Implements Stricter Regulations on Gender-Affirming Care, Aims to Increase Safety
Multiple Criticisms Floods in Support and Against the Featured Law
An article in The Guardian reports that the rule has been criticized by LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, such as Promo, who argue that it is an "abuse of power" and ignores the standards of care set by major medical associations in the country. The article stated that Bailey's rule is part of a larger national trend to restrict transgender healthcare, drag shows, bathroom access, and discussing LGBTQ+ topics in schools.
Bailey's decision, according to Erin Reed, a researcher who studies transgender laws, is undemocratic and would hurt trans youth in Missouri. Reed also points out that when lawmakers are inactive, Republican authorities like Bailey find other methods to restrict care that is gender-affirming.
A rally at the Missouri Capitol aimed to push lawmakers to pass a law banning all gender-affirming treatment for children. According to ABC News, the rally featured a mix of speakers, including Republican state officials, Christian leaders, and both gay and transgender activists. The speakers who opposed gender-affirming treatment for minors argued that it is a form of child abuse and that only adults should have access to such care.
One speaker, Catherine Dreher, who is the vice chair of the Missouri Libertarian Party, shared her personal experience of having an 18-year-old son who wants to transition to a woman. She opposed allowing minors to access gender-affirming care, citing concerns about mental health and distress.
Related Article: Mississippi Senate Approves Bill Restricting Access to Gender-Affirming Health Care for Minors