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Legal battle ongoing as law banning gender affirming care for minors goes into effect


A Missouri judge signed an order on Friday that allows a law banning gender affirming treatment for minors to go into effect, but the legal battle continues.

Attorney General Andrew Bailey sent a letter to Missouri health providers telling them to cease any treatments that might violate this law. No central Missouri health providers were on the list.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer's ruling allows the ban to start on Monday, as was previously scheduled. Senate Bill 49, also called the "Missouri Save Adolescents From Experimentation" or "S.A.F.E." Act, doesn't allow anyone under the age of 18 to receive any surgeries, puberty blockers or hormone therapies that aide in transitioning genders. This case is still set to go to trial. The next hearing is Sept. 22.

Aro Royston is a transgender man born and raised in Missouri. He said he will continue to fight against the law.

"We're definitely planning to fight back," Royston said. "We consider this and  a war,  and we may have lost the battle, but we will continue to fight the war.

Gov. Mike Parson held a series of ceremonial bill signings Monday, but not for Senate Bill 49. The S.A.F.E. Act was signed behind closed doors earlier this summer.

At Monday's signing, Parson said he supports Judge Ohmer's decision and commended Attorney General Andrew Bailey on his work to keep this law in effect.

"I thought it was the right outcome from the people of this state," Parson said. "And I think when you see that, first of all, I want my hats off to the attorney general for the job he done on that for the part of the state. And I think, again, it goes back to it was a law that was created legally by the legislative branch, and it should have stood on that."

One exception to the rule allows for anyone who began taking puberty blockers and hormones before Monday to continue.

The part of the law banning puberty blockers and hormones expires in four years, but the part of the law banning surgery for minors has no expiration date.

The law could also impact adults because Medicaid will no longer cover gender affirming treatments.

"It is disheartening, because you feel like as a contributing member to society, as a taxpayer, that you should be allowed these rights like access to health care and you're not getting them," Royston said.

The law also makes it illegal for any physician or healthcare provider to perform any gender transition procedures on minors. They also will not legally be allowed to refer any minor to another healthcare provider to have the procedure done.

Physicians who choose to continue doing so could possibly lose their practicing license, or be sued up to 15 years after the treatment.

Another law that requires all athletes to compete on teams of the gender they were assigned at birth will also go into effect on Monday. This applies to all public school districts, private schools or public charter schools that offer athletics through the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

Both bills were approved during in this year's legislative session, but will take affect as laws Monday.

Article Topic Follows: Court and Trials

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Nia Hinson

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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