Missouri Senate Sends Restrictions on Transgender Health Care to House

Activists rally to push for laws limiting transgender medical care for minors

Donna Miller of Columbia, Missouri (front) and Nancy Delcourt of St. Charles (after) worship during a preconvention prayer session at the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City, Missouri, Monday, March 20, 2023. Activists have come together to lobby the Missouri legislature to pass a bill limiting transgender health care for minors.

Christine Tannous, Post Dispatch

JEFFERSON CITY – The Republican-controlled Missouri Senate on Thursday approved a four-year ban on puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender youth, sparking debate in the House.

The bill passed with a party vote of 24 to 8.

The decision means the bill clears what might be the biggest hurdle to passage, potentially slowing Democrats in the Missouri Senate. However, it was unclear whether the House would send the bill directly to Republican Gov. Mike Parson or make changes and send it back to the Senate.

For Senator Greg Lazer, a Kansas City Democrat and the only openly gay member of the Senate, Thursday’s vote amounts to “declaring war on our community,” he said. I was. “As always, we win in the end.”

Regarding parents of transgender children, Razer said, “I know many of you are considering it. You guys reached out to me about whether to stay in our state. So I know this: “I don’t blame or judge anyone for leaving.”

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Weldon Springs Republican Senator Bill Eigel said the senator “was calling on adults to leave this state border and mutilate children to avoid the protections we are enacting.”

“If anyone is disappointed because they can’t harm the children of Missouri, they’re better off gone,” Eigel said.

Minors currently using puberty blockers or hormones will be allowed to continue their health care, and those who started before August 28 will be exempt from the ban. This is an important difference from the original law.

Other important differences include the 4-year abolition of pubertal blockers and the prohibition of hormone therapy. A ban on transgender-related surgeries under the age of 18, which is rarely performed, will be permanent.

A law imposing discipline on doctors who refer transgender youth to other health care providers for transition-related care was also removed from the final bill.

Senators gave the package initial approval on Tuesday morning after an overnight filibuster by Democrats who were able to delay the vote while negotiations took place.

Opponents see the law as an attack on the LGBTQ community, claiming Republicans are again intervening in private medical decisions after outlawing most abortions last year. . They also challenge proponents’ claims that targeted care is “experimental.”

Supporters said they need to protect children from potentially life-changing medical decisions.

The Senate also gave final approval to a plan to require transgender athletes to play on sports teams that match the gender indicated on their birth certificate.

The track and field plan passed by a vote of 25 to 8, mostly in line with party lines, and the only Democrat to support it, Sen. Doug Beck of Southern St. Louis County.

“I voted ‘yes’ to that because it felt like I had a problem with competitiveness,” Beck told the Post-Dispatch after the vote. We believe the bill will not be necessary if independent testing is required.

Under the association’s current policy, transgender girls cannot play on women’s sports teams “until one calendar year of documented medical/hormonal treatment and/or suppression has been completed.”

The policy, last updated in 2019, states that in order to maintain eligibility, “transgender female students must then provide ongoing medical documentation demonstrating that adequate hormone levels are maintained. I need to,” he said.

“I think testing is now at the discretion of the doctor,” Beck said.

In the House, Speaker of the House Dean Protcher R-Des Peres congratulated the Senate on pending action in the middle of negotiations.

“Protecting women’s sport is essential. I think it’s horrifying that minors are being irreparably harmed,” said Procher. “I think we have to protect innocent people and protect victims.”

Plotcher said he was “satisfied” with the Senate’s actions, but added, “There are some things I like and some things I don’t like,” suggesting that the House will amend the Senate bill to ensure that the Senate does not. It leaves room for further discussion.

Senate Speaker Protem Caleb Roden (Colombia, Republican) said the bill would be in jeopardy if the House amended it instead of sending it directly to Republican Gov. Mike Parson for consideration.

“They can do what they want,” Roden said. “Even if it does come back, I think it’s pretty unlikely we’ll make it through.”

The bills are Senate Bill 39 and Senate Bill 49.

Missouri Senator Mike Moon was one of three lawmakers who testified at a hearing on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, to support a bill banning medical care for transgender children. Children’s Hospital wrote about alleged misconduct in its clinic.Video by Beth O’Malley

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