Missouri finds itself on the legal battleground, as the state faces a lawsuit over its law prohibiting sex change procedures for children. This makes it the newest Republican-controlled state that is targeted for protecting minors from transgender procedures.
The legal challenge, filed by progressive organizations such as the ACLU of Missouri and Lambda Legal, along with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP law firm, labels Missouri's law as discriminatory. The law in question prevents procedures such as double mastectomies for girls identifying as boys and restricts the use of cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers for children, the Daily Wire reported.
A spokesperson for Governor Mike Parson (R-MO) voiced support for the law, stating, “Governor Parson signed Senate Bill 49 to protect Missouri children and supports efforts by Attorney General Bailey to defend the legislation."
In June, Parson had enacted the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which prohibits transgender procedures for minors and bars the state's Medicaid program from covering adult transgender treatments.
At that time, Parson expressed the law's purpose was to "protect Missouri children from harmful, irreversible treatments and procedures. These decisions have permanent consequences for life and should not be made by impressionable children who may be in crisis or influenced by the political persuasions of others.”
The lawsuit features several parents who allege their children identify as transgender, along with LGBT group PFLAG National, and GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality.
Gillian Wilcox, Deputy Director of Litigation for the ACLU of Missouri, argued that the law openly enables discrimination in the healthcare system by specifically denying transgender Missourians under 18 access to evidence-based gender-affirming medical care, while undermining parents' fundamental right to make medical decisions for their children.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey pledged to uphold the law, emphasizing its necessity to protect children. “There are zero FDA approvals of puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to treat gender dysphoria in children. We’re not going to let left-wing ideologues experiment on children here in the state of Missouri,” Bailey stated.
With over 20 states having enacted laws to safeguard children from transgender procedures, progressive groups are challenging these laws on constitutional grounds, asserting they infringe upon the 14th Amendment.
While laws in Arkansas and Alabama are currently suspended, some states like Tennessee have weathered court challenges. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected a preliminary injunction from a federal judge aimed at stopping the full implementation of Tennessee's law.
Missouri's law is set to come into effect on August 28.