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Tipsheet

Missouri to Implement Irreversible Transgender Treatment Restrictions

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

This month, a first-of-its-kind emergency rule will take effect in Missouri to limit irreversible transgender care, known as “gender-affirming” care, which includes puberty blockers, hormone therapy treatment and sex reassignment surgery. 

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According to ABC News, the restrictions would require adults to attend 18 months of psychological or psychiatric assessments through a therapist before undergoing this type of health care to “explore the developmental influences on the patient’s current gender identity and to determine, among other things, whether the person has any mental health comorbidities.”

A spokesperson for Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office said that the rules would apply to children and adults. 

Bailey’s announcement came after an explosive report published by The Free Press where Jamie Reed, a former case manager at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, spoke out about how “morally and medically appalling” “gender-affirming” health care is on young people. Reed worked at the center for four years and saw “around a thousand” young people who were struggling with their gender identity.

“I left the clinic in November of last year because I could no longer participate in what was happening there. By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ‘do no harm.’ Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care,” Reed wrote in her piece. 

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“The mental health of these kids was deeply concerning—there were diagnoses like schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and more. Often they were already on a fistful of pharmaceuticals,” Reed explained. “This was tragic, but unsurprising given the profound trauma some had been through. Yet no matter how much suffering or pain a child had endured, or how little treatment and love they had received, our doctors viewed gender transition—even with all the expense and hardship it entailed—as the solution.”

Anyone who raised questions about the treatments was labeled “transphobic,” she noted. Kids could begin receiving treatments after a couple short visits with a therapist. 

In response to the allegations, St. Louis Children’s released a statement calling Reed’s allegations “disturbing” (via Washington University in St. Louis): 

We are alarmed by the allegations reported in the article published by The Free Press describing practices and behaviors the author says she witnessed while employed at the university’s Transgender Center. We are taking this matter very seriously and have already begun the process of looking into the situation to ascertain the facts. As always, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our patients. We are committed to providing compassionate, family-centered care to all of our patients and we hold our medical practitioners to the highest professional and ethical standards.

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Around the same time, Bailey announced that he would investigate the transgender center, while Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, called for a federal investigation.

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