A Missouri judge delayed an emergency rule, which would restrict gender-affirming health care for transgender residents across the state, just hours before it would go into effect. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | license photo
April 26 (UPI) — A Missouri judge on Wednesday delayed an emergency rule that would restrict gender-affirming health care for transgender residents across the state, just hours before it would go into effect.
St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo blocked Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s emergency rule on transgender health care, which would apply to all ages, will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and be delayed until 5:00 p.m. Monday, when Ribaudo plans to issue a second decision.
“We are grateful for the court’s decision to issue a temporary stay of implementation of the attorney general’s so-called emergency rule as it more fully considers our request for a temporary restraining order,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Lambda Legal. said in a joint statement Wednesday.
The temporary suspension comes after the ACLU and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of a group of transgender minors and health professionals.
“The attorney general’s so-called emergency rule is based on distorted, misleading, and discredited claims and ignores the overwhelming amount of scientific and medical evidence that supports this care, as well as the medical experts and physicians who work with transgender people every day.” , ACLU and Lambda Legal said earlier this month.
In court Wednesday, the ACLU said the emergency rule allows “a lone partisan official to turn back the clock on decades of health care” for thousands of transgender people across the state.
“He has no authority, and we need to stop pretending he does,” ACLU attorney Tony Rothert argued in St. Louis County court.
Attorney General Josh Divine responded that a consumer protection law, called the Trade Practices Act, gives the office “extraordinarily wide” leeway to pass emergency measures to regulate business practices. .
The emergency rule applies to gender-affirming care for adults and children and would require at least 18 months of therapy, a comprehensive evaluation for autism, and three years of documented proof of an “intense, persistent, and enduring pattern of dysphoria of gender” before. a patient could receive treatment.
The rule would also require minors to receive a comprehensive evaluation for social media addiction and compulsion before receiving gender-affirming medical care.
Bailey has argued that Missouri state law already prohibits gender-affirming care because the medical treatment is “experimental.”
“As attorney general, I will always fight to protect children because gender transition interventions are experimental,” Bailey said earlier this month when he issued the rule.
The emergency rule, which was set to expire on February 6, 2024, comes after Bailey’s office investigated a St. Louis pediatric transgender center where an employee claimed to have witnessed mistreatment.
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