Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (right) put an emergency regulation into effect on Thursday saying gender-affirming health care for transgender minors is already illegal under a state law prohibiting certain medical interventions in the absence of “substantial safeguards”.

Bailey, who faces re-election this year, said Thursday that because gender-affirming medical interventions are considered “experimental,” they are covered by an existing Missouri law governing “unfair, deceptive, and unreasonable business practices.” , which includes health administration. care services.

Bailey first released the emergency regulations in March. The rule includes some restrictions for transgender adults, in addition to young people.

Emergency rule enacted Thursday says it is “an unfair, deceptive, fraudulent, or otherwise unlawful practice” for any person or health care organization in Missouri to recommend or administer gender-affirming health care to patients without certain protections in place, including informed consent disclosures and lengthy psychological or psychiatric assessments.

“This emergency rule is necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare, as well as to protect a compelling government interest, as the Attorney General is responsible for protecting consumers, including minors, from harm and to investigate fraud and abuse in state health care. payment system,” the emergency regulation reads.

Under Bailey’s emergency settlement, which takes effect April 27 and expires next year, transgender people of all ages in Missouri will not be able to access gender-affirming health care without having demonstrated for three years of a “medically documented, long-lasting, persistent illness and intense pattern of gender dysphoria.

Healthcare providers should also ensure annually that a patient’s gender identity is not influenced by social media or peers. Those seeking to access gender-affirming health care must also be screened for autism, and any existing comorbidities like anxiety and depression must be “addressed and resolved” before treatment is given.

Bailey’s enactment of a state of emergency follows his office’s announcement in February that a multi-agency investigation had been launched at a St. Louis transgender pediatric clinic following allegations of malpractice. by a former employee.

In a first-person account published by the Free Press in February, Jamie Reed, a former employee of the Washington University Pediatric Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, claimed that hospital staff often failed to properly inform transgender youth and their families of the potential side effects of gender-affirming health care and, in some cases, provided treatment without parental consent.

Reed made similar statements in a sworn affidavit to Bailey’s office, prompting the investigation. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), responding to Reed’s claims, announced in February that his office had launched a separate investigation into the hospital’s transgender center.

Reed’s account was disputed by a report from the St. Louis Dispatch. Nearly two dozen parents of children seen at the clinic told the outlet that Reed’s claims were “just plain untrue.”

Bailey, in a statement Thursday, said his office has so far uncovered “an underground network” of clinics across Missouri “that harm children by ignoring science.”

“My office is stepping up its efforts to protect children across the state as we investigate the allegations and how they harm children,” he said.

Gender-affirming health care for transgender youth and adults is supported by most major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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