Jefferson City, Mo. - Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Missouri, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court to block the implementation of SB 49, which would prevent transgender adolescents in Missouri from accessing evidence-based gender-affirming medical care. The legal advocates filed the challenge to SB 49 on behalf of three families of transgender young people, medical providers, and the organizations PFLAG National and GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality. The law is scheduled to take effect on August 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.”
"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. "Extreme politicians in Missouri, like the Attorney General, have made known their desire to ban gender-affirming care throughout the State. This legislation targets very specific, vulnerable populations - young people, those who access health care through Medicaid, and incarcerated individuals - to replace private medical decisions with the will of politicians in Jefferson City."
“I was born and raised in the Joplin area and know that the good-hearted people of this state would never want to harm a child or take away a parent’s right to care for their family. Yet that’s what SB49 does by bringing the government into the doctor’s office to harm a vulnerable group of Missourians,” said Brian K. Bond, Chief Executive Officer of PFLAG National. “PFLAG is suing the State of Missouri on behalf of our chapters and members in the state, representing hundreds of families of transgender youth and adults, to ensure every Missourian gets the medically necessary care they need, transgender or not.”
"Doctors, nurses, and all health professionals play a crucial role in promoting healthier and happier communities in Missouri and beyond," stated Alex Sheldon, Executive Director of GLMA. "SB 49 blatantly undermines the extensive expertise and life-saving work of health professionals by placing unnecessary constraints on their ability to provide essential care for transgender patients. By suing the State of Missouri, GLMA is advocating for the rights of our health professional members to practice medicine without facing discriminatory restrictions."
"We are frightened and outraged at Missouri's assault on our rights as parents to seek necessary health care for our children," the families said. "SB 49 is an attempt to interfere in our family relationships and it places the health and well-being of our children at great risk. It must be stopped."
The lawsuit, Noe v. Parson, was filed on behalf of the families of three transgender people, Southampton Community Healthcare and two of its medical providers, and two organizations representing hundreds of families and health professionals across the state. PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. GLMA is the oldest and largest association of LGBTQ+ and allied health professionals, including those who treat LGBTQ+ patients.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed an emergency rule on April 13 seeking to impose severe restrictions on gender-affirming care for transgender people of all ages. Lambda Legal, the ACLU of Missouri, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP filed Southampton Community Healthcare v. Bailey on behalf of Southampton Community Healthcare, Kelly Storck, Logan Casey and the families of two young transgender people, seeking a temporary restraining order to block implementation of the rule.
On May 16, Attorney General Bailey rescinded the rule after the court issued a temporary restraining order blocking its enforcement. Meanwhile, on May 10, the Missouri legislature passed SB 49 and Governor Parson signed the bill behind closed doors on June 7.
Joining Lambda Legal attorneys Nora Huppert, Camilla Taylor, Kara Ingelhart and Omar Gonzalez-Pagan are Gillian Wilcox, Anthony Rothert, and Jason Orr with the ACLU-MO and Jim Lawrence, Ben Clark, Mary Grace Warren, Michael Rowan, and TJ Briggs with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.