Updated May 1, 2023 - Health

Missouri gender-affirming care restrictions temporarily blocked by court

Picture of Andrew Bailey

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey in February 2023. Photo: Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Missouri state court on Monday temporarily stayed an order by the state's attorney general imposing restrictions on gender-affirming care for transgender youth and adults from taking effect.

The big picture: The order, issued by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, is among the first state actions to target gender-affirming care for adults, as more legislation has focused on prohibiting access to trans minors.

  • Bailey's order was set to take effect last week, but a judge stayed it until May 1. Monday's court ruling extends that stay until May 15.

Catch up fast: Bailey issued the emergency rules in April, restricting access to gender-affirming care for trans youth and adults, arguing that such treatment is "experimental."

  • The order states that a trans patient must present an "intense pattern" of gender dysphoria for at least three years before accessing gender-affirming treatments.
  • A patient must have gone through a "full psychological or psychiatric assessment," which consists of at least 15 sessions over 18 months.
  • A health provider must also ensure that a patient is screened for autism and, if they're a minor, a provider must determine if they have a "social media addiction or compulsion."

The ACLU of Missouri last week challenged Bailey's order, arguing that the state attorney general has no authority to restrict access to gender-affirming care, which is supported by several leading health associations.

Details: St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo issued a temporary restraining order, and said that if Bailey's order were to take effect, patients would be "subjected to immediate and irreparable loss, damage or injury," per AP.

  • Ribaudo set a hearing for May 11 on whether the court should grant a preliminary injunction on the order.
  • If granted, a preliminary injunction will prevent the order from taking effect until the court issues a ruling on the case.

Go deeper: Axios Explains: Gender-affirming care in the U.S.

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