A state judge in St. Louis, Missouri declined on Friday to block a new law that bans sex change procedures on minors set to go into effect on Monday.
Republican Gov. Mike Parson of Missouri signed into law Senate Bill 49 on June 7, which would ban doctors in the state from performing “gender transition” surgeries on minors or prescribing hormonal treatments to minors to alter their sexual characteristics.
After the bill was challenged in court by left-wing groups such as Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Missouri, who petitioned for a preliminary injunction, the judge overseeing the case declined to it, permitting it to go into effect on Aug. 28, according to the text of the judge’s ruling on the request.
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“Petitioner has not shown probable success on its Constitutional challenges of the law,” wrote Judge Steven Ohmer of the Cole County Circuit Court, who presided over the challenge. He added that “the science and medical evidence is conflicting and unclear,” citing Gonzales v. Carhart, a Supreme Court case that upheld the federal Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003.
“The performance of a gender transition surgery or the prescription or administration of cross-sex hormones or puberty-blocking drugs to an individual under eighteen years of age in violation of this section shall be considered unprofessional conduct and any health care provider doing so shall have his or her license to practice revoked,” reads the law. The bill also allows patients who were transitioned to bring civil suits against doctors within 15 years of the procedure and guarantees them a minimum award of $500,000 if they win the case, according to the law’s text.
“The Act prohibits the provision of medically necessary, safe, effective, evidence-based, and potentially lifesaving health care to transgender adolescents,” wrote the plaintiffs, which included unnamed transgender individuals and their parents in their motion for injunctive relief, according to its text. They also claimed that “[t]he Act tramples the rights of transgender adolescents and their parents, as well as the medical professionals who provide vital care to transgender adolescents.”
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Without an injunction in place, the law will take effect as scheduled on Aug. 28. Provisions banning hormonal treatment will expire within four years of the date of enactment, though the ban on transgender assignment surgeries has no expiry date.
The ACLU of Missouri and the Missouri Attorney General’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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