Two transgender children are suing the University of Missouri over its decision to stop providing gender-affirming care to minors over fears that a new state law could create legal problems for their doctors.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court, alleges that the university is discriminating against teens based on their diagnoses of gender dysphoria.
Missouri’s new law, which went into effect Aug. 28, bans puberty blockers, hormones and gender-affirming surgery for minors. But there are exceptions for young people who were already taking those medications before the law took effect, allowing them to continue receiving them. health care.
The lawsuit said the teens, who are identified only by their initials, should be covered by that “waiver clause” and should be allowed to continue receiving treatment.
University of Missouri spokesman Christian Basi said Friday that the four-campus system is reviewing the lawsuit and is not in a position to discuss it.
When asked about it Thursday after a meeting of the Board of Curators, university president Mun Choi said the school’s position was that it would “follow the law of the land.”
The University of Missouri Health Care suspended treatments for minors in August. Washington University’s Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital followed suit in September, saying the law “creates unsustainable liability for health care professionals.”
The problem the institutions cited is that health care providers who violate the transgender health care law face having their medical licenses revoked. Beyond that, any provider who prescribes puberty blockers and hormones as a form of gender-affirming care for minors could face lawsuits from those patients up to 15 years after they turn 21.
“Suppliers could be held liable for damages even if they did nothing wrong or unreasonable,” Basi said at the time.
But since the announcement, none of the teens have been able to find other health care providers in Missouri willing to refill their prescriptions. In February, KJ will run out of puberty-delaying medications and JC will run out of testosterone, according to the lawsuit.
Being left without it, the lawsuit adds, would be “deeply traumatic” and cause “serious emotional and physical distress.”
J. Andrew Hirth, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to an email or phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
But he wrote that the university’s policy change discriminates on the basis of gender and “has nothing to do with the medical judgment of its doctors or the best interests of its transgender patients.”