Judge Temporarily Blocks Missouri Gender-Affirming Care Restrictions

Hundreds gathered outside the Missouri Capitol in March to protest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Hundreds gathered outside the Missouri Capitol in March to protest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. | Reuben Hemmer

By Monica Obradovic

The Missouri attorney general’s restrictions on transgender health care will not go into effect today as planned.

Circuit Court Judge Ellen Ribaudo granted a temporary restraining order to prevent the restrictions from going into effect until a lawsuit against the rules is adjudicated. The temporary restraining order expires May 15. 

The restrictions come from an emergency order issued last month by Attorney General Andrew Bailey, which would create barriers to receiving gender-affirming care for adults and minors.

The order would have prohibited providers from administering gender-affirming care unless they followed a long list of guardrails on informed consent. It also would have prohibited patients from receiving gender-affirming care if they weren’t screened for autism, had at least three years of medically documented gender dysphoria, or “unresolved” mental illnesses, among other requirements.

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri sued to block Bailey’s order from taking effect last week. The suit argued Bailey had abused his power and had no authority under a consumer protection law Bailey leveraged to regulate gender-affirming care. 

Bailey’s order was supposed to take effect last week, but a judge delayed its start until today. 

“Today’s ruling marks a win for transgender Missourians over an unprecedented attempt by the attorney general to unilaterally legislate and harm their right to self-expression, bodily autonomy, and access to lifesaving healthcare,” Gillian Wilcox, deputy director of litigation for the ACLU of Missouri said in a statement.

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