SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Advocates are pushing back against Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s emergency rule limiting transgender care. It calls for substantial restrictions on gender-affirming care for both children and adults. Those rules would have taken effect Thursday, but a Saint Louis judge delayed the implementation to Monday.
“At first I felt like nobody really cared and I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Trans Activist Lexi Mason said. “But now I feel like there’s organizations that, like, have our best interests in mind and are willing to do the work to fight for us and get our voices heard.”
The ruling would include restricting access to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a prescription Mason takes.
“I think [the order] is unconstitutional,” Mason said. “I think it’s also un-American. I got a three month supply of HRT, so I’m like trying to stock up in case something happens.”
Under the order, someone seeking treatment must prove they have gender dysphoria and meet with a therapist for at least 15 one-hour sessions.
“I don’t have three years of documented gender dysphoria,” Mason said. “I just started taking HRT eight months ago. These are already adults who are already taking it, being told they can’t take it any longer. And so, like that’s a huge disruption in health care.”
Attorney General Bailey called the treatments ‘experimental’ and says safeguards need to be in place. Regarding the ban, CoxHealth sent a statement regarding its procedures if the order takes effect:
“On April 13, 2023, the Missouri Attorney General issued an emergency rule that prohibits gender-affirming care for patients unless providers comply with certain requirements.
At CoxHealth, our mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve. This means serving all patients, including those who could be impacted if this rule goes into effect. The rule is scheduled to take effect at 5 p.m. on May 1, unless successfully challenged in court. CoxHealth plans to abide by the rule as it is written, and our providers are actively working with affected patients. We are collaborating across our teams to ensure we meet all legal requirements.
As always, we will continue to care for all patients in a compassionate manner.”Cary Nabors, Manager of Public Relations
Since the Saint Louis judge halted the restrictions until Monday, advocates say they can take a second to breathe.
“We’re happy that this doesn’t go through for another couple of days, but this is just one of many, if not the most extreme attack that the trans community has been facing in Missouri so far,” Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) Member Josh Mayfield said. “Trans people are like anyone else. They deserve rights. They deserve to live a normal, happy, well-adjusted life just like any of the rest of us.”
PSL along with other groups will head to the capitol Saturday to protest the order.
“We are not going to take this sitting down,” Mayfield said. “We are going to fight back so long as there is a fight to be won.”
The judge delayed the order till 5 p.m. Monday. She is expected to issue a ruling before then.