CLAYTON, Mo. (KMIZ)
A judge on Wednesday blocked a rule that aimed to restrict access to gender-affirming healthcare.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced emergency regulations last month for gender-affirming care such as the use of puberty blockers. A judge Wednesday ruled against Bailey's rule on transgender health care, putting it on hold until at least Monday. Rules were set to go into effect at midnight.
The judge also ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit will stay in state court.
Following the hearing, ACLU of Missouri lawyer Tony Rothert told ABC 17 he was happy with the way things went.
"We're looking forward to testing the attorney general's case if and when they ever present any evidence," Rothert said.
Gaddy Cary-Avery, a transgender woman, attended the hearing with her wife.
"The idea that I am a risk to a child because I am trans, that my very existence is a risk, is ridiculous," Cary-Avery said.
Bailey filed a motion Tuesday night to move a state lawsuit challenging his emergency rule on gender transition treatments to federal court, just hours before a state court hearing in the case. The decision to keep the case in state court was made before the hearing.
"The attorney general’s attempt to escape the scrutiny of the Missouri courts, which know best how state law limits his authority, is as devoid of factual and legal support as the emergency rule itself," ACLU spokesman Tom Bastian told ABC 17 News ahead of the federal hearing.
A St. Louis County judge on Wednesday presided over a hearing in a lawsuit filed against Bailey's emergency rule. The lawsuit, filed in St. Louis County, includes a Boone County family with a 15-year-old transgender daughter as a plaintiff.
The lawsuit being litigated by Lambda Legal, ACLU of Missouri and Bryan Cave Leighton LLP aims to put a temporary restraining order on the rule that is set to take effect Thursday. That would block the rule from going into effect while the lawsuit is being considered.
Lambda Legal attorney Nora Huppert said in a statement Wednesday that they see the motion to move the case to federal court as an attempt to draw out the legal process.
“In his quest to strip away necessary, safe, and effective health care from transgender Missourians, Attorney General Bailey is playing procedural games to avoid review of his unlawful actions in Missouri’s courts," Huppert said.
If not blocked, the set of emergency regulations will go into effect Thursday and will last until Feb. 6, 2024.
The emergency rule states that “It is unfair, deceptive, fraudulent, or otherwise unlawful” for any health care organization to provide gender-affirming care if the patient:
- Has not been annually assessed for continuous gender dysphoria
- The patient and/or patient's parents have not been informed of all the alleged harms of hormone therapy
- Provider fails to ensure that the patient has shown and has medically documented proof of a “long-lasting, persistent and intense pattern” of gender dysphoria for three consecutive years
- Provider fails to ensure that a patient has received a “full psychological or psychiatric
Assessment” of 15 separate hourly sessions with a therapist (10 of them have to be with the same therapist). These have to be over the course of no fewer than 18 months
Bailey said in a statement to ABC 17 News on Tuesday that the rule creates safeguards for people seeking treatment.
“Rather than ensure that patients are protected by common sense safeguards, these organizations are racing to court in an effort to continue their ideologically-based procedures masquerading as medicine," Bailey said.