Missouri judge blocks emergency rule that would limit eligibility for gender-affirming care News
Missouri judge blocks emergency rule that would limit eligibility for gender-affirming care

A Missouri judge Monday temporarily blocked an emergency rule that would have required people seeking gender-affirming care to first receive over a year of therapy among other prerequisites. The case is in the Missouri Circuit Court of the County of St. Louis.

The ACLU of Missouri filed Southampton Community Healthcare v. Bailey to allow the healthcare center to continue providing gender-affirming care as well as to ensure individuals seeking that care can continue with their treatment plans.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo held the plaintiffs met the requirements for a temporary restraining order which includes “immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage.” The judge found that without the restraining order, those currently receiving gender-affirming care could have their treatment plans interrupted, which could be harmful.

This lawsuit occurred after Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey administered an emergency rule last month which would only allow gender-affirming care if the individual passed a host of requirements including at least 18 months of therapy, a screening for autism or has a documented history of gender dysphoria for at least three consecutive years. Gender-affirming care under the emergency order consists of puberty-blocking drugs, hormone treatments and gender-affirming surgery. Bailey explained why he felt this rule was necessary in the order stating, “Because these gender transition interventions lack a solid evidentiary foundation and pose very serious side effects, they are unlawful under Missouri law absent sufficiently protective guardrails.”

Many called the emergency rule an attack on transgender rights, with the Deputy Director of Litigation for the ACLU of Missouri stating, “Today’s ruling marks a win for transgender Missourians over an unprecedented attempt by the Attorney General to unilaterally legislate and harm their right to self-expression, bodily autonomy, and access to lifesaving healthcare.”

This temporary restraining order is effective until May 15, with a hearing scheduled for May 11. Last week, the Montana governor signed a bill banning gender-affirming healthcare for minors, showcasing a continued trend to restrict transgender rights.