Missouri AG's office acknowledges that rule severely limiting trans care applies to people of all ages
"[A] shocking expansion of efforts to restrict gender-affirming care into the realm of adult care," an attorney with an LGBTQ legal advocacy organization tells Law Dork.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office acknowledged on Thursday evening that its new regulation severely limiting gender-affirming medical care due to its almost insurmountable requirements applies to people of all ages.
The acknowledgement comes despite the fact that Bailey announced the move as one addressing concerns about children’s care and has only discussed it as such since.
“We have serious concerns about how children are being treated throughout the state, but we believe everyone is entitled to evidence-based medicine and adequate mental health care,” Bailey spokesperson Madeline Sieren told Law Dork.
An attorney with the LGBTQ legal advocacy group Lambda Legal, which has already promised legal action against the move, pushed back against Sieren’s statement.
“This so-called emergency rule is a shocking expansion of efforts to restrict gender-affirming care into the realm of adult care, and its reliance on false or misleading claims makes a mockery of the phrase ‘evidence-based medicine’ — it is anything but,” Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Nora Huppert told Law Dork.
The rule is slated to go into effect on April 27, according to the copy of the rule provided by Bailey’s office, which is both horrifyingly soon for those trans people who live in Missouri — and it means that litigation will come very quickly.
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The actual announcement of the emergency rule came more than three weeks after Bailey — appointed to the attorney general’s position last year — initially announced that he would be putting out an “Emergency Regulation on Gender Transition Interventions for Minors.”
Even on Thursday, the announcement stated that Bailey was putting forward an “Emergency Regulation Targeting Gender Transition Procedures for Minors.” His tweets, similarly, focused only on this as “an effort to protect children” — mentioning “children” four times in the thread. His chat with the far-right Family Research Council, similarly, referenced the move as one addressing children. FRC tweeted a clip from that appearance, and Bailey retweeted it from his official account.
Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic who has been closely following the wave of anti-transgender policies across the country, quickly highlighted the expansive scope of the much-delayed regulation earlier today on Twitter:
Erin Reed followed up shortly in her newsletter, which provides some of the most in-depth coverage of developments relating to transgender legislation, policy, and more today.
As Reed highlighted in describing the measure:
Missouri's Attorney General, through a single executive action, has just banned or limited access to such care for a majority of transgender adults in the state. This unilateral decision is expected to leave tens of thousands of transgender Missourians without crucial medication or treatment. The move threatens to roll back transgender medical care to the level of the 1970s, seemingly fulfilling right-wing political commentators' ominous vows to eradicate transgender individuals altogether.
From the start of the actual emergency rule, all of the attention on minors disappears.
As Caraballo and Reed detail, the rule sets extremely burdensome requirements for anyone to receive gender-affirming medical care. It also could be interpreted to set an outright ban on receiving such care for people with other conditions, including autism.
The rule references many of the most flippant, unscientific, anti-trans claims levied against transgender care, and states them as fact. It then sets statewide policy, using the authority granted to the attorney general in a consumer protection law, based on those claims. Please, again, read Reed’s post for more on the ways in which this rule has been crafted.
For these purposes, though, I do want to point out some ways in which the draconian rule itself — despite citing lots of articles about young people — makes absolutely clear in its operative provisions, the ones that actually do something, that the rule applies to people of all ages.
In fact, the few operative provisions that reference minors make it clear. These are all found in the part of the rule creating the onerous obligations for providers. The rule states:
Then, this one clause, on its face, applies only to minors.
It is the only operative clause in the rule that applies only to minors.
Two other operative clauses mention minors, but they do so in a way that confirms the broader rule’s applicability to people of all ages.
These two clauses make undeniably clear that the rule applies to both minors and adults.
Shannon Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the move by Bailey an “unprecedented action” and said it “crosses a red line that should strike fear in the heart of every person who believes that individuals, not the government, should make healthcare decisions for themselves.”
“Transgender people have a right to control their own lives and make decisions about their own medical care,” Minter said. “This will be challenged, and I am confident it will be struck down.”
This story was updated and expanded after initial publication, with the final update at 12:05 a.m. April 14.
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