JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri House members spent over eight hours on Wednesday deliberating on a list of bills that seek to impose further restrictions on transgender individuals in the state.
The House Emerging Issues Committee heard comments on seven bills, including one that focuses on removing the expiration date on a law that prohibits transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming health care like puberty blockers.
Last session, Missouri lawmakers passed the SAFE Act, which included a grandfather clause for transgender youth already receiving prescribed medical care and an expiration date on the sections barring access to puberty blockers and hormone treatments. The House Emerging Issues Committee heard testimony on a bill that seeks to remove the sunset clause on Missouri’s law prohibiting transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming health care.
Rep. Brad Hudson, R-Cape Fair, sponsored the bill in the House last session, expressing disagreement with the provisions in the law and attempting to change it by removing the sunset clause. According to Hudson, medical and mental health treatments as well as social support are included in gender-affirming care, which is supported by multiple medical associations.
During the proceedings, one of the bills sponsored by Hudson was discussed, allowing medical institutions or professionals to opt out of participating in gender-affirming health care treatments that go against their moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.
In addition, the committee heard testimonies on other legislation that restricts bathroom, locker, and shower room access in public schools, creates new definitions in the Missouri Human Rights Act for “sex,” “male,” and “female,” and seeks to prohibit employers from requiring employees to share a multiple-occupancy restroom with someone of the opposite sex.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to weigh in on bathroom access for transgender students in public schools, allowing a lower court’s ruling to stand, which permits transgender students to use the bathroom aligned with their gender identity.