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Limiting transgender health care bill heads to Gov. Parson's desk

Senate Bill 49 prevents new transgender patients who are under the age of 18 from seeking out gender-affirming care for the next four years.

ST. LOUIS — A Missouri bill that restricts transgender care for kids and teens under the age of 18 is on its way to Governor Mike Parson’s desk. The governor says he will be signing this bill.

Sponsors and supporters of this legislation say they are trying to protect children from making irreversible decisions, but parents and organizations supporting transgender children say they’re actually doing the opposite.

Senate Bill 49 prevents new transgender patients who are under the age of 18 from seeking out gender-affirming care for the next four years.

“They are not allowed to temporarily pause the changes in their body so that they can have that time to really understand who they are,” Robert Fischer with PROMO said.

This also impacts adults on Medicaid, which will no longer cover gender-affirming care in the state.

Teens and kids who are already on a treatment plan have nothing to worry about for now but those who want to start treatment are going to have to leave the state.

Mike Walk has a transgender teen and he's grateful they started her therapies years ago.

“We're grateful for our kid that we get to stay here, that she gets to finish high school with all the friends that she's made and the teachers and administrators that she knows. We can hope still for a victory in the courts,” Walk said.

Senator Mike Moon, the sponsor of the bill, says, “This bill prohibits the chemical mutilation and physical castration of minors.”

Other supporters say they have one goal in mind.

"I don't see this as an LGBTQ issue, I see this as an issue to protect young children," Rep. Brian Seitz, (R) Branson, said.

Parson said, “All children, regardless of their gender or orientation, are invaluable and should not be subjected to potentially irreversible surgeries and treatments prior to adulthood.”

But those who are opposed say this bill is harmful.

"With legislation like this, it's purely done for political reasons, there's often a bad aftermath for a lot of people," Rep. David Tyson-Smith, (D) Columbia, said.

Fischer said people are already experiencing the negative effects of this legislation.

“Just discussion of these bills alone throughout the five-month session is damaging to youth mental health. It increases their risk to suicide and then increases their overall anxiety about the fact that people are debating whether or not they even exist,” Fischer said.

Walk said it's upsetting that other children might not be able to have the same experience his daughter has in being her true self.

“Her mental state is far, far better since she began taking the hormones and she feels good. It's wonderful to see,” Walk said.

PROMO is asking people who oppose this bill to make their voices heard to Parson by calling (573) 751-3222 or writing an email to his office.

If he signs this bill it would go into effect August 28.

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