(The Center Square) – Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday signed bills into law affecting transgender athletes and creating a moratorium for gender transition treatments for minors.
“We support everyone’s right to his or her own pursuit of happiness; however, we must protect children from making life-altering decisions that they could come to regret in adulthood once they have physically and emotionally matured,” Parson said in a statement.
In a media release announcing Parson would sign five other bills, there was no mention of Senate Bills 39 and 49. Parson pledged to keep the General Assembly in session or call a special session to address the bills. The American Civil Liberties Union criticized Parson’s approval.
“The anti-trans legislation Governor Parson penned into law will be devastating for trans people of all ages,” the ACLU statement said. “While the government pushed this deceitful bill behind the guise of protecting children, buried within the law is a ban on health care for adults based on the amount of money they earn or whether they are incarcerated.”
Senate Bill 49 prohibits health care providers from performing gender transition surgeries. No health care provider can prescribe or administer cross-sex hormones or puberty-blocking drugs to a minor for a gender transition until Aug. 28, 2027, unless the person was receiving the treatment prior to Aug. 28.
The law also prevents Missouri’s Medicaid program from covering gender transition surgeries, cross-sex hormones or puberty-blocking drugs for the purpose of a gender transition. The surgeries and prescriptions also are prohibited from health care service provided in prisons, jails and correctional centers.
The ACLU mentioned Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s emergency order preventing gender transition procedures, which started in April, was paused in May by court order and then withdrawn after passage of the bills.
“As was true with the Attorney General’s failed attempt to limit care for all trans Missourians with his emergency rule, Senate Bill 49 ignores the evidence-based clinical recommendations of every major medical association,” the ACLU stated. “This law strips patients and parents of their rights and requires that decisions related to medical treatment that should be based on consent informed by medical professionals be dictated by the uninformed opinions of politicians.”
Senate Bill 39 prohibits educational institutions from allowing biological male students from participating on sports teams designated for biological females. Elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools must adhere to the law along with private schools, public school districts, public charter schools, public colleges and universities and private colleges and universities.
“In alarming fashion, legislators took extraordinary efforts to target and prevent eight students statewide from playing sports in SB 39, while choosing to not solve issues that would benefit all Missouri students such as Missouri’s teacher shortage,” the ACLU stated.
Parson believes the bill ensures equity.
“Women and girls deserve and have fought for an equal opportunity to succeed, and with this legislation today, we stand up to the nonsense and stand with them as they take back their sport competitions,” Parson said in a statement. “In Missouri, we support real fairness, not injustice disguised as social righteousness.”
Parson signed five other bills, including a state income tax deduction on federal grants expanding broadband access (Senate Bill 25).