In these final days of the Missouri Legislature’s session, Republicans have passed two top priorities – restricting transgender healthcare for youth and transgender athletes playing in K-12 through college sports.
Under Senate Bill 49, no doctor could prescribe or give cross-sex hormones or puberty-blocking drugs to someone under 18 years old. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, would also ban physicians from doing gender transition surgery on minors.
“This bill prohibits the chemical mutilation and physical castration of minors,” Moon said on Twitter.
Three House Republicans sided with Democrats in opposing the bill – Majority Leader Jon Patterson, Rep. Chris Sander and Rep. Gary Bonacker.
Doctors who violate the bill could have their medical license revoked. Violations could also be grounds for a cause of action in a lawsuit against the provider.
“It’s an incredibly devastating day for transgender Missourians, for families raising transgender youth, and for all of Missouri,” said Shira Berkowitz, with PROMO, an LGBTQ advocacy group. “We are just as angry, depressed, scared, and outraged as you are. Missouri’s state government is waging an all-out war on transgender Missourians.”
The state would not be allowed to cover gender transition surgeries for individuals in prisons, jails, and correctional centers. The legislation also bars Medicaid payments for hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and gender transition surgeries.
It has an expiration of August 28, 2027.
Senate Bill 39, sponsored by Sen. Holly Thompson Rehder, R-Sikeston, would require athletes to compete on sports teams aligned with their biological sex. The restrictions are for Missouri public and private schools through college.
Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, opposed the bill.
“This bill is the epitome of bullying the most vulnerable kids in our state – a very small group of kids that are just trying to play sports and do it where it makes the most sense for them,” he said. “The arguments about this bill, I think, show better than anything the ignorance, the bigotry, yes, I say bigotry, that word means an unreasonable attachment to a mistreatment of a group.”
Schools can allow a female student to compete in sports designated for male students if no corresponding competition for female students is offered or available.
Rep. Mazzie Boyd, R-Hamilton, talked about competing in the Junior Olympics.
“I had practiced and practiced all summer,” she says. “I gave up part of my childhood to go to this and it wasn’t because I thought it was fun. It was because I wanted to accomplish something so much greater than myself – something that my parents could never have accomplished. And the fact that it could have been so taken away by a biological man is absurd to me.”
Any Missouri school that violates the bill could lose state aid or other state revenues.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association has guidelines on sports participation for transgender athletes. The NCAA has them for college student athletes.
The bills go to Gov. Mike Parson for decisions. Parson said this month that he would call a special session if the Missouri Legislature did not pass bills targeting transgender individuals.
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