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Bailey sues St. Louis provider over gender-affirming care for minors

Andrew Bailey, newly appointed Missouri Attorney General, speaks to the media on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, after being sworn in as the state’s 44th attorney general at the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City.
Brian Munoz
/
St. Louis Public Radio
Andrew Bailey, newly appointed Missouri Attorney General, speaks to the media on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, after being sworn in as the state’s 44th attorney general at the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has sued a St. Louis-based community health center over its gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

“As long as I’m Attorney General, I will fight to ensure that Missouri is the safest state in the nation for children,” Bailey said in a statement Sunday announcing the suit.

The claim against Southampton Community Health Center is based on testimony in a hearing on a lawsuit challenging the new law, which bars transgender youth from obtaining puberty blockers or hormone therapy unless they were already prescribed such treatment. A judge in August allowed the restrictions to go forward.

But the lawsuit does not accuse the center, in The Hill neighborhood, of violating those new restrictions. Instead, Bailey argued that Southampton’s failure to provide a “comprehensive mental health assessment” before prescribing hormones or puberty blockers to minors violates the state ban on deceptive advertising.

Bailey is asking for a $1,000 penalty for each violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and for Southampton to be required to pay restitution to those he argues have been harmed.

Southampton Community Health Care is one of the few providers in Missouri still offering medical interventions such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. Other centers, such as Washington University’s, have stopped providing that care, even for current patients.

Southampton Community Health Care could not immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2023 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.