Ban on Gender-Affirming Care Will Take Effect: Missouri Judge

Lawsuit tried to block law on behalf of doctors, LGBTQ+ groups, transgender minors
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 25, 2023 4:10 PM CDT
Ban on Gender-Affirming Care Will Take Effect: Missouri Judge
Glenda Starke wears a transgender flag as a counterprotest during a rally in favor of a ban on gender-affirming health care legislation in March at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

A Missouri judge decided Friday that a law banning gender-affirming treatments for minors can take effect. St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer ruled that the law will kick in Monday, as previously scheduled. Families of transgender minors had sued to overturn the law, and asked Ohmer to temporarily block it as the court challenge plays out. But his ruling means that beginning Monday, minors in Missouri no longer can receive gender-affirming surgeries. Children prescribed puberty blockers or hormones before Aug. 28 will be allowed to continue treatment, the AP reports. Other children won't have access to those medications. The law expires in August 2027.

Under the law, health care providers are prohibited from providing gender-affirming surgeries to children. Some adults also will lose access to gender-affirming care. Medicaid no longer will cover treatments for adults, and the state will not provide those surgeries to prisoners. The ACLU of Missouri, Lambda Legal, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner last month sued to overturn the law on behalf of doctors, LGBTQ+ organizations, and three families of transgender minors, arguing that it is discriminatory. One plaintiff, a 10-year-old transgender boy, has not yet started puberty and consequently has not started taking puberty blockers. His family worries that he will begin puberty after the law takes effect, meaning he will not have access to puberty blockers for four years until the law sunsets.

Proponents of the law argued gender-affirming medical treatments are unsafe and untested. Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey's office wrote in a court brief that blocking the law "would open the gate to interventions that a growing international consensus has said may be extraordinarily damaging." The office cited restrictions on gender-affirming treatments for minors in countries including England and Norway, though those nations have not enacted outright bans. Every major medical organization in the US, including the American Medical Association, has opposed bans on gender-affirming care for minors and supported the medical care for youth when administered appropriately. Physicians who violate the law face having their licenses revoked and being sued by patients. The law makes it easier for former patients to sue, per the AP.

(Read more gender-affirming care stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.