Transgender friends, family and communities gathered Sunday, April 16 at Mill Creek Park on the plaza to protest Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s new executive action so strict that it will essentially ban gender-affirming care for many adults and minors in Missouri.
Special to The Star
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s sweeping restrictions on transgender care will be blocked from taking effect for more than two months after both parties agreed to delay a hearing in the case until late July.
Under a joint agreement filed Thursday, a hearing in a lawsuit seeking to block Bailey’s restrictions that was originally scheduled for May 11 will now be held on July 20. The state attorney general’s office will be temporarily blocked from implementing any of the proposed restrictions until at least July 24.
“This was the date that worked best for the Court’s calendar that both sides could make work,” Bailey spokesperson Madeline Sieren said in a statement.
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If the regulations were to take effect, they would make Missouri the first state to severely restrict transgender care for adults, in addition to children, banning doctors from providing gender-affirming care unless a patient has shown three consecutive years of gender dysphoria and requiring 15 separate hourly therapy sessions over 18 months before a person can start transgender care.
The rule has stoked fear and confusion in the state’s transgender community and divided Republicans, with Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and others questioning whether it will hold up in court.
St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Ellen H. Ribaudo, appointed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in 2015, had temporarily blocked the restrictions until May 15 after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and LGBTQ civil rights group Lambda Legal. The suit alleged that Bailey’s rule violates state law and the Missouri Constitution.
Tom Bastian, the ACLU spokesperson, said in an email that the state had agreed to an extension of the temporary restraining order and the new court date to accommodate witness schedules.
“The TRO will remain in place until the court rules on the motion for preliminary injunction,” he said.
In court filings and last month’s hearing, the ACLU described how Bailey’s rule was not based on proper medical expertise. The organization also detailed how the regulations would severely restrict Missourians from receiving necessary health care.
Bailey’s office had countered that the restrictions were necessary, painting gender-affirming care as experimental. The Republican’s legal team last week touted talk therapy as a replacement to gender-affirming care.
Transgender Missourians who spoke with The Star have feared that Bailey’s rule was merely a stopgap to give the GOP-controlled General Assembly more time to pass legislation aimed at restricting gender-affirming care.
While Bailey’s rule is temporarily blocked until July, Republican state lawmakers are considering legislation that would ban doctors from providing gender-affirming care to anyone under 18. With less than two weeks left in the legislative session, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has threatened to call lawmakers into a special session if they do not pass the anti-transgender legislation this year.
This story was originally published May 04, 2023 3:03 PM.