Some say a new emergency rule in Missouri could, in effect, block gender-transitioning medical procedures for many adults and children in that state.
Attorney General Andrew Bailey says he crafted the new rule, believed to be the first in the nation, to protect patients from “deceptive” business practices surrounding transgender procedures.
But the measure sparked a firestorm among transgender-rights activists, saying Bailey has opened a new front in the war over transgender procedures in America.
“This is a nuclear bomb on trans people in Missouri. Its effects will be felt for years if it goes into effect,” activist Erin Reed wrote on Twitter.
More than 3 million people viewed Reed’s tweet that reported: “Missouri AG just essentially banned gender-affirming care for most trans adults via emergency rule.”
Although many states have proposed or enacted laws banning or restricting the procedures on minors, the Missouri rule is said to be the first that also affects transgender adults.
In a Tweet, the Human Rights Campaign said, “This isn’t just an overreach of authority—it’s an outright attempt to endanger and ultimately erase transgender people statewide.”
Missouri’s new rule (pdf) clarifies that gender-transitioning medical treatments are illegal under existing consumer-protection laws unless medical providers meet certain informed-consent and patient-screening requirements. The rule will take effect on April 27 and expire on Feb. 6, 2024.
Under the rule, medical providers must give patients specific warnings about risks. They also must ensure that patients have received mental-health assessments, have undergone 18 months of visits with a mental health therapist, and have resolved any psychiatric symptoms.
Special Concerns About Youths
The rule covers patients of all ages, but some provisions are tailored to minors.
Providers must assess whether “social contagion” played a role in youths’ gender distress and must determine whether young people suffer from “social media addiction or compulsion” that contributed to discontent over their gender, the rule says.
Current patients may continue their gender-transitioning procedures as long as the mental-health assessments and treatment prescribed in the rule are promptly followed, the rule says.
The rules are unreasonable and restrict transgender people’s access to “gender-affirming care,” according to a joint statement from Lambda Legal and the Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Calling Bailey’s action “a shocking attempt to exploit Missouri’s consumer protection laws,” the groups said they would take legal action against the rule if necessary.
In an April 14 email to The Epoch Times, Bailey replied: “We look forward to defending our regulation in court if we need to. This regulation injects an ounce of common sense into gender-transition procedures.”
Bailey said recent revelations about the dangers of these interventions compelled him to act quickly to protect the public, including children.
In an April 14 interview with Fox News, Bailey called the rule “innovative,” the first time an attorney general’s authority has been used to create a rule adding safeguards to gender-transitioning practices.
“I would encourage other states to adopt the same policy,” he said.
‘Clandestine Network’ Harming Children
The rule applies to “any puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, or surgery, for the purpose of transitioning gender, decreasing gender incongruence, or treating gender dysphoria,” which is persistent distress over one’s gender.
Under the rule, providing such gender-transition interventions without specific patient evaluations and warnings is “unfair, deceptive, fraudulent or otherwise unlawful” under Missouri’s consumer-protection laws.
Bailey announced his intention to impose such a rule last month. He said concerns have risen over “an immense increase in the use of these life-altering interventions, which have serious side effects.”
Meanwhile, his office has been investigating a gender clinic whistleblower’s allegations since January.
“An investigation has revealed that some providers in Missouri prescribe gender transition interventions without any individualized assessment, contrary to safeguards established in scientific literature and by medical organizations,” the rule states.
In addition, Bailey asserted in a news release: “My office has uncovered a clandestine network of clinics across the state who are harming children by ignoring the science.”
Critics, however, accused Bailey of relying on “debunked” claims that the procedures are harmful.
In his email, Bailey said, “I would point leftists who are ignoring the science to our six pages of endnotes citing to [sic] clinical studies and medical journals supporting that transition intervention procedures are dangerous and purely experimental.”