Missouri Planned Parenthood sues over transgender probe

Associated Press (AP) – The Missouri Attorney General is investigating gender-affirming care provided by Planned Parenthood, according to a lawsuit filed by the St. Louis health care provider.

Planned Parenthood in the St. Louis and southwestern Missouri area sued Attorney General Andrew Bailey Friday in the St. Louis Circuit Court, court documents show.

Bailey’s office requested records from Planned Parenthood March 14 as part of an investigation into the treatment of transgender youth at an independent St. Louis clinic operated by Washington University, according to the lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood argues in its lawsuit that its clinic is unrelated to Washington University’s Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which has come under multiple investigations following allegations of abuse by a former employee.

Planned Parenthood is trying to block access to his records and asked Judge Elizabeth Hogan to tell Bailey he doesn’t have the authority to investigate the clinic, which is under state health department inspection.

dr Colleen McNicholas, the health center’s chief medical officer, described Bailey’s investigation as a “fish expedition.” She told The Associated Press that his office had not made any allegations of abuse at the Planned Parenthood clinic.

A spokeswoman for Bailey did not immediately respond to Associated Press inquiries Friday.

Bailey announced his Washington University investigation, citing whistleblower complaints that doctors there did not adequately warn patients and parents about possible side effects of puberty blockers and hormones and that doctors pressured parents to agree to treatment.

The lawsuit comes amid a national push to restrict transgender healthcare, drag shows, access to restrooms and the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in schools. The lawsuit was filed Friday as rallies were planned in cities across the country as part of Transgender Day of Visibility.

The attorney general’s investigation is “an attempt to help him operate outside the legislative process and prevent Missourians from accessing transgender care,” McNicholas said.

As the state’s chief attorney, Bailey follows his predecessor’s example by using the office to take a stand on social issues. Last week he announced plans to file an emergency regulation to limit health care for transgender children. It would require an 18-month wait, 15 therapy sessions and additional mental health treatments before Missouri doctors can care for the minor.

“I am committed to using every legal remedy at my disposal to stand in the gap and protect children from being victims of inhumane scientific experimentation,” Bailey said in a statement announcing the proposed rule.

His office has not yet filed the rule.

Transgender medical treatment for children has been available in the US for over a decade and is supported by major medical associations. Many clinics use treatment plans developed in Amsterdam 30 years ago, according to a recent review in the British Psych Bulletin. Since 2005, the number of youth referred to gender clinics has increased tenfold in the US, UK, Canada and Finland, the review said.

Planned Parenthood’s McNicholas said Bailey is using “the same playbook” that abortion opponents and elected officials have used to restrict abortions.

Missouri banned nearly all abortions in 2022 after US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade had picked up.

Before that, Republicans fought for years to end abortion in the state. The GOP-led state legislature proposed anti-abortion legislation annually. As more and more restrictive procedural bans were imposed in court, Republican governors stepped in.

“If we’re going to learn anything from our past experiences with the state targeting us for providing legal abortion care, we know other people providing that care will certainly be targets,” McNicholas said. “If not now, then soon.”

Source : www.washingtontimes.com

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