News Briefs

Lawsuit seeks to block Missouri ban on transgender care for minors

By: - July 25, 2023 6:34 pm
A stone government building on a cold, grey day

The ACLU of Missouri and Lamda Legal filed a lawsuit in the Cole County Circuit Court Tuesday (Annelise Hanshaw/Missouri Independent).

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cole County is attempting to block the implementation of Missouri’s ban on gender-affirming medical care for minors.

Attorneys at the ACLU of Missouri and Lambda Legal argue the ban could have “extremely serious negative health consequences.” 

“On its face, the law enshrines discriminatory practices in our health care system by specifically denying transgender Missourians under the age of eighteen access to evidence-based gender-affirming medical care while stripping parents of their fundamental right to make medical decisions for their children,” Gillian Wilcox, deputy director of litigation at the ACLU of Missouri, said in a statement.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the families of three transgender minors and Southampton Community Healthcare, which provides gender-affirming care. Other named plaintiffs are two of Southampton’s providers and two national LGBTQ+ organizations.

The American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the Endocrine Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychiatric Association have approved the use of gender-affirming care for transgender people.

“Doctors, nurses, and all health professionals play a crucial role in promoting healthier and happier communities in Missouri and beyond,” Alex Sheldon, executive director of GLMA, said in a statement released Tuesday evening. “(Missouri’s ban) blatantly undermines the extensive expertise and life-saving work of health professionals by placing unnecessary constraints on their ability to provide essential care for transgender patients.”

In April, the ACLU and Lambda Legal challenged Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s emergency rule that would have prevented both minors and adults from accessing gender-affirming care. A St. Louis Circuit Court judge halted the rule by granting a temporary restraining order. Bailey withdrew the rule in May, dismissing the then-active case. He saying his order was “standing in the gap unless and until the General Assembly decided to take action on this issue.”

This story has been updated to include details regarding the emergency-order litigation.

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Annelise Hanshaw
Annelise Hanshaw

Annelise Hanshaw writes about education — a beat she has covered on both the West and East Coast while working for daily newspapers in Santa Barbara, California, and Greenwich, Connecticut. A born-and-raised Missourian, she is proud to be back in her home state.