The ACLU of Missouri and two other organizations filed a lawsuit this week challenging Missouri’s new law protecting minors from transgender treatments.
Senate Bill 49, called the “Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson on June 7 and goes into effect Aug. 28. It prohibits transgender treatments such as cross-sex hormones, puberty-blocking drugs and surgeries on minors for the next four years, exempting those already receiving them.
In a signing statement Parson said, “We support everyone’s right to his or her own pursuit of happiness; however, we must protect children from making life-altering decisions that they could come to regret in adulthood once they have physically and emotionally matured.”
The ACLU is joined in the suit by Lambda Legal and St. Louis-based Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
Lambda Legal staff attorney Nora Huppert disagrees with the governor.
“SB 49 is the latest chapter in Missouri’s relentless attacks on transgender people, and the stories of the families challenging the law demonstrate the immense, devastating harm it is already inflicting on their lives,” Huppert said in the organization’s press release. “SB 49 would deny adolescent transgender Missourians access to evidence-based treatment supported by the overwhelming medical consensus. This law is not just harmful and cruel; it is life-threatening.”
The lawsuit, Noe v. Parson, was filed in Cole County Circuit Court on behalf of the families of three transgender children aged 10, 13 and 14; Southampton Community Healthcare and two of its medical providers; and the organizations PFLAG and GLMA. PFLAG advocates for LGBTQ people and GLMA is an organization of LGBTQ-allied health professionals.
The plaintiffs cite Article I, section 2 of the Missouri Constitution, which says “all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law.”
The lawsuit claims SB 49 and SB 39 – which bans biological males from participating on female sports teams – together “reveal a clear legislative scheme to roll back and restrict the rights of transgender people throughout Missouri, and demonstrate a discriminatory legislative intent.”
In addition to banning gender-transition treatments for those under 18, SB 49 will also affect some adults. Medicaid will no longer cover gender-transition in Missouri, and inmates won’t have access to gender-transition surgery.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey wrote in a tweet responding to the lawsuit that his office is “not going to let left-wing ideologues experiment on children here in the state of Missouri.”
“There are zero FDA approvals of puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to treat gender dysphoria in children,” the AG wrote.