Missouri’s near-total ban on trans healthcare temporarily blocked by judge

Andrew Bailey during a legislative session.

A Missouri judge has ruled to temporarily suspend restrictions on gender-affirming care for trans people, after an emergency ruling made by an attorney general looked set to all-but ban it from the state.

21st Judicial Circuit judge Ellen Ribaudo issued the ruling on Thursday (27 April) to restrict attorney general Andrew Bailey’s earlier, emergency ruling on gender-affirming care, which would make accessing healthcare nearly impossible.

Various legal teams, including Lambda Legal and the ACLU, filed a petition to blockade the emergency order made by Bailey on 13 April which stipulates that those seeking care must go through three years of “long-lasting, persisent and intense” gender dysphoria.

It also requires 15 hours of therapy over 18 months before a diagnosis could be given.

Bailey’s ruling targets both trans adults and trans youth, and stipulates that symptoms of depression and anxiety must be “treated and resolved” before care can be administered.

The restraining order now means that members of the court have until Monday (1 May) to consider each side’s argument before coming to a ruling.

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“We are grateful for the court’s decision to issue a temporary stay,” a statement from ACLU Missouri read.

“No less than the health and well-being of thousands of transgender Missourians is at stake.

“Gender-affirming care is supported by overwhelming scientific data, decades of clinical experience, and the medical consensus of major medical organisations in the United States.

“The decision on whether or not to allow the implementation of this rule, which ignores the proven sciences and experience of health care providers, will have an immediate impact on Missourians of all ages and their access to livesaving medical care.”

Temporary relief ‘welcomed’

Activists across the state had already begun receiving letters from medical professionals detailing their rescinding of care in anticipation of the ruling.

Various letters and notices from doctors urging patients using gender-affirming care to request a “90-day supply of your medications” were shared across social media.

One, shared by trans Missouri resident Devyn, saw their doctor write: “I do not currently haver the processes in place to defend my license to practice gender-affirming care.

“If this rule is overturned, I will reinstate your plan of care immediately.”

Legal teams involved in the restraining order petition, which was filed on behalf of Southampton Community Healthcare and the families of two younger transgender children, have said they “look forward” to the final ruling on the matter.

“While we welcome this temporary relief, we look forward to the judge ultimately preventing this rule from going into effect.”

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