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Springfield judge will decide fate of Missouri law banning gender surgery for kids

A new Missouri law banning gender transition surgery and hormone treatment for children is set to take effect Aug. 28. Lawyers for activists and parents of gender dysphoric minors are trying to stop the law in a Springfield court this week, the Associated Press reports.

Lawyers last month sued to overturn the law on behalf of three families of transgender minors, doctors and two LGBTQ+ organizations. They asked a county judge to temporarily block the law as the court challenge against it plays out. The judge is expected to rule before Monday.

The law, signed by Republican Gov. Mike Parson in June, would prohibit Missouri health-care providers from providing dangerous and unreversable puberty blockers, hormones and penis and breast removal surgeries to minors. Minors prescribed puberty blockers or hormones before Aug. 28 would be able to continue to receive those treatments. Most adults would still have access to transgender health care under the law, but Medicaid wouldn’t cover it and prisoners’ access to surgeries would be limited.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs’ wrote in a Springfield court filing that the law unlawfully discriminates against transgender patients “by denying them medically necessary care and insurance coverage because of their sex and because of their transgender status.” In court briefs, the attorney general’s office argued that the law is not discriminatory because it “applies evenly to boys and girls.”

“The only distinction made is based on the condition to be treated,” lawyers for the office wrote. “Puberty blockers, testosterone and estrogen can all still be used to treat various conditions (such as precocious puberty). They just cannot be used as an experimental response to gender dysphoria.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved puberty blockers 30 years ago to treat children with precocious puberty, a condition that causes sexual development to begin much earlier than usual. Sex hormones — synthetic forms of estrogen and testosterone — were approved decades ago to treat hormone disorders or as birth control pills.

The FDA has not approved the medications specifically to treat gender-questioning youth, but they have been used off label for many years for that purpose.

–Alan Goforth |Metro Voice

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