For Missouri activists, Attorney General’s end to transhealthcare ban is only a temporary victory | KCUR

Health care providers and transgender patients in Missouri said they were relieved that Attorney General Andrew Bailey this week rescinded an emergency rule limiting gender-affirming care. But they are preparing for additional challenges to patient access to surgery, hormone therapy, and other treatments.

The rules Bailey submitted in April were supposed to expire in February. The law required both adults and minors to undergo hours of therapy and resolve mental health issues before receiving gender-affirming care.

Patients were also screened for autism, coexisting with gender dysphoria for at least 3 years, and were required to sign an informed consent form containing claims about the health risks of certain procedures prior to treatment. was taken. Advocates of transgender care say these claims are not based on science or erroneous research on the risks of gender-affirming treatment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and other major medical associations support gender-affirming care, saying children who receive such care are healthier.

Dr Sam Toktrop, who treats transgender patients at Southampton Health Care in St. Louis, said the rule would have created a disability and significantly reduced access to treatment.

When he learned that Bailey had decided to rescind this rule, he was overwhelmed.

“I needed a little time to lean back on the pole,” said Toktrop, who is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking cover for the rules.

“In a way, it feels like a victory. [But] When you look at the whole thing, it feels like a relatively small thing,” he said. “It makes a big difference in the lives of many patients.”

A spokeswoman for Bailey said the attorney general has withdrawn the rule after the state legislature passed a bill earlier this month banning gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18. Governor Mike Parson said he plans to sign this bill and another bill that would require student-athletes to compete. according to the gender assigned at birth.

Bailey has frequently argued that Missouri should shield children from gender-affirmation procedures, but the emergency rule applies to transgender people of all ages.

Transgender activists said they couldn’t fully celebrate the repeal of the rule, given that Mr. Parson is likely to sign a bill banning caregiving to minors.

“I feel like I jumped off a train that was about to derail, but there’s still another train coming,” said June Choate, event coordinator and support group facilitator for the Metro Trans Umbrella Group. “That tension is still there… Living in this state, I can’t help but feel paranoid, especially given the conditions we’re seeing in Florida.”

This week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a law banning gender-affirming treatment for minors and placing limits on treatment for adults.

Choate said Missouri’s recent legislative session had focused on minor care, but he fears legislators could target adult care in the future.

Toktrop said providers should remain vigilant and expected further restrictions could be imposed.

“Just because this emergency rule didn’t ultimately pass and was withdrawn doesn’t mean something like it won’t reappear in the coming weeks or months,” he said. “We … must strive to fight for the rights of patients, for the rights of transgender people, even if there is no immediate threat in front of us.”

Advocates for transgender people are urging the public to ask Mr. Parson to veto two bills targeting trans minors.

In a statement, the leaders of LGBTQ rights advocacy group PROMO Missouri said: “This victory is huge for our community. Today we wish everyone a little bit of peace as our most immediate threat has passed.” I recommend that you take a deep breath,” he said. “But in the face of anti-trans legislation directed at the governor’s desk, we still need you in this fight.”

Copyright 2023 St. Louis Public Radio. For more information, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

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