Lawsuit filed to block Missouri’s gender-affirming care ban

SB 49, which would block care for youth and those on state health plans, is set to go into effect on Aug. 28.

ST. LOUIS – A coalition of groups has sued the state of Missouri over Senate Bill 49, which banned gender-affirming care for minors and some adults.

The ACLU of Missouri, Lambda Legal, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) Law filed a petition in state court to block enforcement of the law, which goes into effect on Aug. 28.

“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,” said Nora Huppert, staff attorney at Lambda Legal. “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.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed SB 49 into law in early June.

The groups filed the challenge, Noe v. Parson, on behalf of three families of transgender young people, medical providers, and the organizations PFLAG National and GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality.

“On its face, the law enshrines discriminatory practices in our health care system by specifically denying transgender Missourians under the age of eighteen access to evidence-based gender-affirming medical care while stripping parents of their fundamental right to make medical decisions for their children,” said Gillian Wilcox, deputy director of litigation at the ACLU of Missouri.

PROMO Missouri, the state’s LGBTQ advocacy organization, welcomed the filing.

“After six months of the Missouri State Government outright attacking LGBTQ+ Missourians, and particularly the trans community, today is a day about hope,” said Aro Royston, board secretary for PROMO. “This lawsuit continues the unyielding demand the ACLU of Missouri, Lambda Legal, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and PROMO Missouri share for transgender equality with one singular message: the transgender community cannot be erased and their lives and rights must be recognized.”

PROMO said trans people can reach out to local, trans-led groups like Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG), The Shades Project, or St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline (SQSH) in St. Louis, Transformations in Kansas City, and Springfield Transgender and Ally Resource Team (START) in Springfield, Mo., for support.

Missouri has been one of the most active states in passing or establishing anti-trans laws and policies.

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