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Missouri terminates emergency rule to limit trans care for minors, some adults

According to a page on the attorney general's website regarding emergency rules, the rule had been terminated effective May 16.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has withdrawn his emergency rule restricting gender-affirming health care for minors and some adults, a week after a bill that restricts transgender care for kids and teens was sent to the governor's desk.

The move was announced Tuesday without explanation on the Missouri Secretary of State's website. The website says: “This emergency rule terminated effective May 16, 2023.” 

Missouri's attorney general announced new restrictions in April on transgender care for adults in addition to minors. It was set to take effect on April 27 but a judge put it on hold.

The rule included a requirement for adults and children to undergo more than a year of therapy and fulfill other requirements before they could receive gender-affirming treatments such as puberty blockers, hormones and surgery. Bailey initially sought to implement the rule effective April 27.

The ACLU of Missouri then filed a lawsuit seeking to block the rule, which would have made the state one of the first in the country to limit transgender care for adults. The lawsuit alleged the attorney general didn’t have the authority to use the state’s consumer protection law to block access to transgender-affirming care.

St. Louis County Judge Ellen Ribaudo granted a temporary restraining order and originally scheduled a May 11 hearing on the lawsuit. Ribaudo pushed back the hearing to July 20, following a joint request from both sides. 

Bailey's office issued the following statement:

We were standing in the gap unless and until the General Assembly decided to take action on this issue. The General Assembly has now filled that gap with a statute. I’m proud to have shed light on the experimental nature of these procedures, and will continue to do everything in my power to make Missouri the safest state in the nation for children.

Senate Bill 49, which prevents new transgender patients who are under the age of 18 from seeking out gender-affirming care for the next four years, was approved by lawmakers last week and awaits approval from Gov. Mike Parson. He has said that he will sign the bill, which would then take effect Aug. 28.

The ACLU of Missouri issued the following statement:

“After weeks of embarrassing Missouri on the national stage, the Attorney General has finally joined everyone else in recognizing that his hasty attempt to usurp other branches of government cannot withstand scrutiny. His transparently faux concern for trans youth could not mask that his willingness to abuse his office in an attempt to erase from public all transgender Missourians. Today’s actions are a victory for Missourians’ right to bodily autonomy, but the fight is not over.

“While recently passed legislation is not as extreme as the Attorney General’s unlawful rule, it still rejects the recommendations of every major medical association based on decades of peer-reviewed studies supporting the necessity of life-saving gender-affirming care. If it is allowed to become law, the legislation would substitute the uninformed opinions of politicians for patient and parental consent informed by knowledgeable medical professionals. The Governor should veto Senate Bills 39 and 49 and afford trans youth and their families the dignity of continuing make important medical decisions without interference from the political branches of government.”  

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) provided the following statement:

“Andrew Bailey grossly overstepped his legal authority, and everyone knows it. So, it isn’t surprising he withdrew his unconstitutional rule knowing another embarrassing court defeat was inevitable. Missourians deserve an attorney general worthy of the office, not one who persecutes innocent Missourians for political gain.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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