A state judge last week ruled against an injunction that would have stopped a Missouri law that bans gender-manipulation procedures for minors. Doctors who violate the new law could lose their licenses or be sued.
Legal challenges by LGBTQ advocates continue, but for now Attorney General Andrew Bailey is celebrating a win in the ongoing challenge. He explains that getting to this point for Missouri included getting together with other states.
"We coordinated with other states, other like-minded state attorneys general in the lead up to this court battle, and we were able to take lessons learned," Bailey said on American Family Radio Tuesday. "Other states have gone through the same legal challenge [and] enacted this kind of statute; so [we discussed] what works, what didn't, what would they have done the same, what would they have done differently – and that helped us formulate a legal strategy."
Those discussions helped Bailey and his staff come up with an evidence list and a witness list, he told show host Jenna Ellis. The group was able to "fight back and shine a light on the truth of this issue." The key, according to Bailey, is getting this subject matter into open court then clearly communicating the case.
"Some of it's just talking about this the right way," he explained. "Detransitioners are victims of a system. The experts for the other side are really just pseudo-scientists masquerading as practitioners of medicine when we know that this is nothing short of gender mutilation and child sterilization.
"You have to talk about it in the right terms," Bailey continued. "Popping that bubble, shining a light of truth on it and exposing the lie of the Left is really critical."
Getting such cases to court can really strengthen state laws, said the Missouri AG.
"Going to open court means forcing the other side, forcing the plaintiff, forcing the ACLU to put on their evidence and letting us test that evidence through the process of cross examination, then allowing us to put on our evidence," he described. "Again, putting that in open court where the judge sees it, the public's invited in to witness it and the media can't run and hide from it – that's really critical to winning."
California teen Chloe Cole, a detransitioner who is traveling the country and sharing her story in state legislatures and before Congress, testified on behalf of the state of Missouri, The New York Times reported.
Courts won't always make decisions that seem logical
While open court is important, it should not be assumed that judges will make what seem like obvious rulings to protect plaintiffs.
For example, this week in Wyoming a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by sorority members at the University of Wyoming against Kappa Kappa Gamma's national leadership who say they feel uncomfortable in the presence of a male who says he's a female. The sorority admitted Artemis Langford, 21, in September 2022, The New York Post reported.
The women say they felt "intimidated" to accept Langford into the sorority house, but the national chapter has ignored their concerns.
In the lawsuit the women allege that Langford has behaved inappropriately around them and that on at least one occasion has "had an erection visible through his leggings." On other occasions, Langford has held a pillow in his lap.
Wyoming U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson wrote that his "court will not define a 'woman' today." In contrast, Bailey called Missouri Circuit Court Judge Steven Ohmer's decision "fantastic."
"We've drawn up a winning plan, and we're going to hand it off to the next stage," said the state AG.
The Missouri law makes it illegal to prescribe puberty blockers or hormone treatments to minors and stops referrals for gender-mutilation surgeries for minors. It also allows victims a 15-year window to bring a claim against any physician or health care worker who recommended or facilitated such treatments.
"We know that it's not based in science, it's not based in medicine, and now we have tools to fight back against it," Bailey said. "I know there's increased attention on this, and this opens the floodgates. There was never a standard of care codified around these kinds of procedures because there wasn't medicine or science to back it up. That's what we exposed in court.
"When the ACLU's experts took the stand, we cross examined that and forced them to admit under oath that the studies they were relying on in proposing … these kinds of procedures and care were weak science at best."
ACLU trial experts ignored European trends
Many European nations that preceded the U.S. in providing gender treatments to minors now are rethinking their positions. But as Bailey explained, ACLU trial experts in the Missouri case "were ignoring the science coming out of Europe showing that there are harmful, dangerous, long-term negative consequences for kids who are being forced into the system."
"Force" is not too strong a word to describe the lack of guidance available from health care professionals, Chloe Cole shared on the Washington Watch program this week. She shared that when it became clear that she and her parents were exploring a gender "transition," it was full steam ahead from the medical community.
"They never told [my parents] about the possibility that I would desist or detransition – or of me regretting these procedures," the 19-year-old recalled. "They said that it was more likely that I would regret going through puberty than I ever would being on these interventions."
Cole said doctors on the front end were just telling a child what a child wanted to hear instead of "thinking about what it might have been that I actually needed, which was psychotherapy, and just being given the chance to grow up."
Cole was just 13 years old when she began her regrettable transition journey. The next four years included use of generic puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatments, and a double mastectomy. She has filed a lawsuit alleging Kaiser Hospitals "push[ed] her into medical manipulation" instead of properly treating her.