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Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey could impede access to gender-affirming care for minors and adults. Missouri might be the first state in the United States to ban gender-affirming care for adults and youth. Attorney General Andrew Bailey pushed the bill through simply on his power to enforce laws versus going through legislature or signed by a governor. 

A state judge in Missouri has granted a temporary pause on the state’s restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors and adults. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo issued the order on Monday, which means that the limits on gender-affirming care will be halted for two weeks while she considers whether to block them for a more extended period during an ongoing legal challenge.

The judge has scheduled a hearing for May 11 to hear a request for a preliminary injunction against the restrictions. The proposal was brought forward by transgender Missourians and healthcare providers challenging the limits Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey issued last month. 

Constitutional Right to Privacy

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, providing a framework for how the government should operate and how individual rights should be protected. One of the most important constitutional rights is the right to privacy, enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The right to privacy has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to encompass a broad range of activities, including the right to make personal decisions about one’s health and medical care. However, several states, like Florida, have limited this right by banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. In two weeks, Missouri will be the first state in the United States to ban gender-affirming care for adults. This raises serious concerns about the scope of the right to privacy in the United States and, more importantly, transgender rights and human rights in general. 

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, often cited as the foundation for the right to privacy. The Amendment states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” While the Fourth Amendment does not explicitly mention the right to privacy, it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to encompass a broad range of activities considered private.

  • Griswold V Connecticut

In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court famously recognized the right to privacy as a fundamental right “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” and “emanates from the penumbras of the specific guarantees of the Bill of Rights.” This landmark case involved a challenge to a Connecticut law that prohibited contraceptives, even by married couples. The Court held that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the right to privacy, including the right to make personal decisions about one’s health and medical care. The Supreme Court held the right to privacy until they overturned Roe V Wade’s landmark case in June of 2022. 

  • Roe V Wade Overturning Implications

Roe v Wade was a piggyback ruling from Griswold v Connecticut. In the Griswold case, it was found that we have the right to privacy through the 9th Amendment and that the state cannot interfere with one’s right to contraception. It was also noted that just because a right is not enumerated does not mean that it is not a right. Keep in mind the Constitution was written in 1787. 

Even then, the founding fathers knew they could not possibly account for everything and every situation in the future. The 9th Amendment is a significant part of the Constitution that reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other retained by the people.” James Madison attempted to ensure that the Bill of Rights was not seen as granting to the people of the United States only the specific rights it addressed. In Roe, the Court determined that the states had no compelling interest in the fetus during the first trimester and could not regulate abortion rights during that period. 

So, within that period, the woman had a complete choice over her body and fetus and, therefore, could do whatever she wanted regarding her pregnancy. When Roe was overturned, it was stated that the rationale for Roe was based on Griswold being defective. This is an extremely important detail. The Court proclaims that there is NO constitutionally protected right to privacy. Which means many other cases may also fall. 

We are seeing the Griswold case up for debate regarding gay marriage and gay rights. In the last year since Roe V Wade has been overturned, we have seen the attack on LGBTQ right be attacked and violated at a barbaric and alarming rate. All these issues are completely related and built upon each other. Overturning Roe has more implications than removing a federal constitutional right of privacy respecting abortion decisions. This decision really put into motion the attack on transgender human rights we are now facing. 

  • Lawrence V Texas

In Lawrence v. Texas, the Court struck down a Texas law that criminalized same-sex sexual activity, holding that the right to engage in consensual sexual activity is a fundamental right that is protected by the right to privacy. 

  • Obergefell V Hodges

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court held that same-sex couples have the right to marry, which is also considered a fundamental right protected by the right to privacy.

We are Going Backward

Despite these landmark decisions, some states have recently attempted to limit the right to privacy by banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth and now adults. These bans typically prohibit doctors from providing hormone therapy or surgery to transgender youth, even if the treatment is medically necessary and recommended by the child’s doctor. These laws interfere with the right to privacy by denying individuals the ability to make personal decisions about their own health and medical care.

Proponents of these bans argue that they are necessary to protect children from making irreversible decisions about their gender identity. However, medical experts and transgender advocates argue these bans are harmful and discriminatory. Plus, a lot of gender-affirming care is actually very much reversible. Gender dysphoria, the medical condition that is often treated with gender-affirming medical care, is a recognized medical condition that can cause significant distress and impairment. Denying transgender youth access to medically necessary care can have serious consequences, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.

These bans interfere with the relationship between doctors and their patients. Doctors have a duty to provide their patients with the best possible care based on the most up-to-date medical research and their professional judgment. Banning doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care interferes with this duty and denies patients the ability to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

The United States Constitution provides a broad right to privacy, including the right to make personal decisions about one’s health and medical care. This right is being violated more and more, especially since the overturning of Roe V Wade, and there will be serious implications for this violation. 

The Implication of Missouris Ban

Banning all gender-affirming care for adults and youth in Missouri will lead to detrimental consequences. Keep in mind that along with the psychological impacts we can expect to see, such as depression and increased suicidal ideation, this ban will force many to have to de-transition. This ban is literally forcing people to experience uncomfortable medical symptoms. The ban isn’t allowing for any weaning or preparation. Hormones, like most other drugs, should not just be abruptly stopped. Forcing someone to do something medically seems insane in the “advanced times” we are living in, and it is unconstitutional. 

Transgender Risk to Mental Health and Suicidal Ideation

It has been statistically proven that transgender youth are at a high risk of suicide, and restricting the care they need will only increase the risk of harming themselves. The Trevor Project found that LGBTQ+ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. An astounding 1.8 million LGTBQ+ youth ages 13-24 seriously consider suicide each year, while one attempts suicide every 35 seconds in the United States.

One study found that 82% of transgender youth have thought about suicide, with 40% attempting suicide. The reason why transgender youth may consider or try suicide is unique to them. However, it is essential to point out that the reasons are not necessarily because of who they are but rather society’s response to them. Bullying, hate crimes, and safety concerns are all prevalent in the lives of transgender youth, which would make a living hard to cope with for anyone. 

Videos surfaced all over social media of trans youth and adults stating their names and a small part of their life stories. They are making these in case they are killed or take their own lives. So it is documented at least somewhere that these bans, being unable to receive medical care, is causing not only safety issues but extreme distress. So much so that people are considering suicide

LGBTQ+ and Transgender Mental Health Facts

  1. According to a 2020 study by the Trevor Project, 52% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past year.
  2. The same study found that 40% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported having made a suicide attempt in the past year.
  3. A 2018 study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found that transgender people are more likely to attempt suicide than the general population, with 42% of transgender adults reporting having attempted suicide at some point.
  4. The same study found that transgender people who experienced discrimination, violence, or lack of support were at a higher risk for suicidal ideation and attempts.
  5. A 2020 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 40% of transgender adults reported experiencing a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety in the past year.
  6. The same report found that 9% of transgender adults attempted suicide in the past year.
  7. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that transgender youth with access to gender-affirming medical care had lower rates of depression and anxiety than those who did not have access to such care.
  8. The same study found that transgender youth who experienced high levels of family support had lower rates of depression and anxiety than those who did not experience such support.
  9. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Homosexuality found that transgender people who had experienced conversion therapy were likelier to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD than those who had not experienced conversion therapy.
  10. A 2017 study published in the journal BMC Public Health found that transgender people who experienced discrimination in healthcare settings were more likely to report suicidal ideation and attempts than those who did not experience such discrimination.

Transgender Rights are Human Rights

Transgender and LGBTQ+ individuals have the same constitutional rights as any other American citizen, including the right to privacy, medical care, and gender-affirming care. Denying these individuals access to appropriate healthcare or legal protections is not only unconstitutional but also cruel and discriminatory.

Unfortunately, recent actions by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey seek to limit access to gender-affirming care for minors and adults, which clearly violates constitutional rights. The attempt to impose restrictive regulations on healthcare providers, and deny individuals access to necessary medical care and support, is outdated and cruel. Such restrictions can have severe consequences for the mental health and well-being of transgender and LGBTQ+ individuals.

We must recognize the importance of respecting individuals’ autonomy over their own bodies and providing them with access to appropriate medical care. The legal battle to protect the rights of transgender and LGBTQ+ individuals is ongoing, and we must continue to push for change, equality, and inclusion for all. Missouri’s actions are a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done to ensure that transgender and LGBTQ+ individuals can live freely and without discrimination.

If you are feeling unsafe or suicidal here are some resources:

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About The Author

Julie Johansson

Educated in Criminal Justice and a true crime junkie. Former mall cop, fur mom and women's rights advocate. I am trying to engage in more important topics and writing is how I connect with my community and the world.

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