Missouri Democrats filibustered bills in the state Senate Monday night that would protect children from genital mutilation and irreversible chemical treatments. While Republicans ultimately prevailed, approving the bills Tuesday morning, they still need one more affirmative vote before the legislation will pass in the House.
In the meantime, Missouri's Republican attorney general made sure children in the state will no longer be easily subjected to sex changes and chemical sterilizations.
Debate began Monday afternoon in the Missouri Senate, where Republicans control the chamber by a 24-10 margin. The focus was Republican legislation that would ban confusion-affirming surgeries and puberty blockers for minors, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Senate Bill 39 would establish the "Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act," barring health care providers from providing gender transition procedures to minors. A violation would be considered unprofessional conduct and grounds for a cause of action.
The bill would also bar boys from girls' sports and vice versa in public, private, and charter schools.
Sen. Holly Rehder (R), sponsor of the legislation, indicated that contrary to LGBT activists' claims, the bill allows for children and families to continue with therapy and education, but requires that the prospective patients wait until adulthood before going under the knife, reported St. Louis Public Radio.
The purpose of the bill, ultimately, is to "put guardrails around a very difficult situation, one that we honestly as a society, certainly as a legislative body, do not know enough about," said Rehder.
In the Senate debate, which was punctuated by yelling, Sen. Denny Hoskins drew the ire of his Democrat peers early on by asking whether it was okay "for a 13-year-old boy to cut off his penis?"
Democratic Sen. Karla May said, "It is up to that parent to make that decision."
Hoskins' suggestion that transsexual surgeries entail "popping off their genitals" prompted Sen. Greg Razer to deny a fundamental component of so-called "gender-affirming care."
"Nobody's genitals are getting cut off," said Razer. "You're trying to scare people and divide people. Stop."
Just as they had two weeks ago, Democratic senators again delayed a vote on the bill with an overnight filibuster.
The Post-Dispatch reported that around 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Republicans approved the bills and adjourned.
To secure approval, lawmakers evidently had to include a grandfather clause for patients taking puberty blockers or hormone therapy before Aug. 27, 2023, when the law goes into effect.
Additionally, restrictions on sterilizing chemical interventions for minors will expire in 2027 unless the legislature approves another law.
Protections for now
Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced Monday that his office was issuing an emergency rule protecting minors from sex changes and puberty blockers.
In a statement ahead of the Senate debates, he noted that "because gender transition interventions are experimental, they are covered by existing Missouri law governing unfair, deceptive, and unconscionable business practices, including in administering healthcare services."
Bailey noted that the emergency rule "is necessary due to the skyrocketing number of gender transition interventions, despite rising concerns in the medical community that these procedures are experimental and lack clinical evidence of safety or success."
The attorney general said, "I will protect children and enforce the laws as written, which includes upholding state law on experimental gender transition interventions."
"Even Europe recognizes that mutilating children for the sake of a woke, leftist agenda has irreversible consequences, and countries like Sweden, Norway, and the United Kingdom have all sharply curtailed these procedures. I am dedicated to using every legal tool at my disposal to stand in the gap and protect children from being subject to inhumane science experiments," he added.
Bailey's emergency regulation stipulates that patients must be informed, among other things, that:
- Sterilizing puberty blocker drugs and cross-sex hormones are experimental and have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration;
- The FDA "has issued a warning that puberty blockers can lead to brain swelling and blindness;
- Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare recently declared that, at least for minors, "the risks of puberty suppressing treatment with GnRH-analogues and gender-affirming hormonal treatment currently outweigh the possible benefits"; and
- "The Endocrine Society found that 'the large majority (about 85%) of prepubertal children with a childhood diagnosis did not remain GD/gender incongruent in adolescence.'"
Additionally, the regulation prohibits gender transition interventions in multiple scenarios, such as if the provider has not ensured the patient has undergone "a full psychological or psychiatric assessment, consisting of not fewer than 15 separate, hourly sessions over the course of not fewer than 18 months to determine, among other things, whether the person has any mental health comorbidities," or "not experiencing social contagion with respect to the patient's gender identity."
This emergency rule will last 30 legislative days or 180 days.
Erin Reed, a transsexual TikTok activist, suggested that despite Missourians giving the Republican a supermajority and mandate in the Senate and Bailey's appointment by a governor who secured over 57% of the votes in the 2020 gubernatorial election, the emergency rule was "undemocratic."
"An action like this taken to sidestep the legislature and sidestep the democratic process is in and of itself undemocratic and is going to harm trans youth in Missouri," said Reed.
"This emergency order flies in the face of the scientific consensus, which is that, with appropriate psychological screening, treatment approaches should affirm an adolescent’s gender identity, not deny it," said Akbar.
Missouri AG calls gender transition healthcare ‘experimental,’ implementing new ...youtu.be
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