Missouri officials hit back at one of the clinics for unsuccessfully taking new measures government restrictions on gender-affirming care and accused the clinic in a lawsuit of failing to provide adequate care for transgender minors even before the new law came into effect.
This was announced by the Republican Attorney General of Missouri, Andrew Bailey Counterclaim against St. Louis-based Southampton Community Healthcare on Sunday, two days after it was filed in court.
The ACLU of Missouri, which represented the clinic in challenging the law that prohibits minors from receiving puberty blockers and bans gender-affirming surgeries, did not immediately respond to the new filing Sunday. And on Sunday no one answered the phone at the clinic.
The lawsuit says that during the hearing on the new law, Southampton doctors admitted in court that they had failed to provide comprehensive psychological evaluations to all of their patients. Bailey’s office argues that this violated Missouri consumer protection law because the clinic did not meet the accepted standard of care that existed long before the new restrictions requiring psychiatric evaluations.
“These providers failed Missouri’s children when they rejected even a watered-down medical standard and subjected them to irreversible procedures. “My office is not available for this,” Bailey said.
If Bailey prevails in his lawsuit against Southampton, the clinic could be ordered to pay $1,000 for each violation and award compensation to all patients who underwent gender reassignment surgery without a full mental health assessment pay.
The new lawwhich came into force on August 28th, bans puberty blockers, hormones and gender-affirming surgeries in minors. Although it allows exceptions for those who were already taking these medications before the law took effect, consequences quickly emerged: Both the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia stopped prescribing puberty blockers and hormones to a minor for the purpose of gender reassignment.
Most transgender adults still have access to health care under the law, but Medicaid does not cover it. Under the law, incarcerated people must pay out of pocket for gender-affirming surgeries.
Every major medical organization, including the American Medical Association, has opposed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors and supports their access to care if the treatments are administered appropriately. Lawsuits have been filed in several states challenging the restrictions enacted this year.
The Food and Drug Administration approved puberty blockers 30 years ago to treat children with precocious puberty, a condition that causes sexual development to begin much earlier than usual. Sex hormones – synthetic forms of estrogen and testosterone – were approved decades ago to treat hormone disorders or as birth control pills.
The FDA has not specifically approved the drugs to treat gender-critical adolescents. However, they have been used “off label” for this purpose for many years, a common and accepted practice for many diseases. Doctors who treat transgender patients say this decades-long use is evidence that the treatments are not experimental.
Critics of gender-equitable care for minors have expressed concerns that children might change their minds. Still, the evidence suggests that detransitioning is not as common as opponents of transgender medical treatment for youth claim, although studies are few and have their weaknesses.
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