Two new laws restricting the access of transgender youth in Missouri to gender health care and school sports took effect Monday.
One law bans minors from beginning puberty blockers and hormones and outlaws gender-affirming surgeries for youths. The other law requires student athletes from kindergarten through college to play on sports teams that align with their sex as assigned at birth.
Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed the bills in June after he and other proponents of the laws pressured the GOP-led legislature to act during this year’s session. Both laws are set to expire in 2027.
LGBTQ+ advocates who sued to overturn the health care law were dealt a blow last week when a judge allowed the law to take effect as the court challenge plays out.
The health care law prohibits physicians from providing gender health care to minors, but young people prescribed puberty blockers or hormones before Aug. 28 can continue to receive those treatments.
Missouri’s Planned Parenthood clinics had been ramping up available appointments and holding pop-up clinics to start patients on treatments before the law took effect.
Adults still have access to transgender health care under the law, but Medicaid will not cover it and prisoners’ access to surgeries is limited.
Missouri Department of Social Services spokeswoman Caitlin Whaley said Monday that the state’s Medicaid program “has not historically paid” for gender surgeries. She said the agency has already enacted changes to Medicaid to prevent payments for hormones and puberty blockers.
Dr. Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said the ban on Medicaid coverage might mean adult patients already receiving treatments will need to switch to providers who accept out-of-pocket payments.
Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey on Monday sent a letter to a handful of health care providers, including Planned Parenthood, warning that the law is now in effect. Bailey had tried to enact limits on gender-affirming health care through rulemaking earlier this year. His office is now defending the health care law in court.
Physicians who violate the law face having their licenses revoked and being sued by patients.
A gubernatorial-appointed state board of physicians is responsible for doctors’ licensure and revocation in Missouri.ng the care.
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