April 24, 2023 -JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri ACLU on Monday sued to block new state restrictions on both adults and children seeking gender-affirming health care, which are set to kick in Thursday.
ACLU, Lambda Legal and Bryan Cave Leighton LLP attorneys representing transgender Missourians and health care providers asked a St. Louis County judge to stop the first-of-its-kind rule from taking effect.
They argue that Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey has no authority to use a state consumer-protection law to regulate gender-affirming care through emergency rule-making.
The rule is “a baseless and discriminatory attempt to limit the healthcare options for transgender individuals, who already face several barriers accessing necessary and life-saving medical care,” said Dr. Samuel Tochtrop of plaintiff Southampton Community Healthcare, in a statement.
Before gender-affirming medical treatments can be provided by physicians, the regulation requires people to have experienced an “intense pattern” of documented gender dysphoria for three years and to have received at least 15 hourly sessions with a therapist over at least 18 months. Patients also would first have to be screened for autism and “social media addiction,” and any psychiatric symptoms from mental health issues would have to be treated and resolved.