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COLUMBIA, Missouri (LifeSiteNews) — Missouri Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office hit back at LGBT activists and the radical American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after they filed a lawsuit against the state over its new rule regulating transgender procedures for minors and adults. Bailey’s office argued the lawsuit is an attempt to protect “ideologically based procedures masquerading as medicine.”

Among other requirements, the new emergency rule stipulates that any transgender-identifying person must participate in a total of 15 therapy sessions over the span of 18 months before becoming eligible for any transgender surgeries and drugs. Handed down as an emergency rule, the new regulation will take effect Thursday and expire in February.

READ: Missouri issues first state restrictions on ‘sex changes’ for adults

In an effort to block enforcement of the rule, the ACLU and numerous pro-LGBT activist groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the attorney general on behalf of three transgender-identifying people and Southampton Community Healthcare, Fox News noted.

Reacting to the lawsuit, Bailey’s office said in a statement the new rule simply “enacts basic safeguards for interventions that an international medical consensus has determined to be experimental.”

His office also slammed the activist groups bringing the lawsuit, arguing they are incautiously pushing for judicial intervention in a bid to protect “ideologically based procedures.”

“Rather than ensure that patients are protected by common sense safeguards, these organizations are racing to court in an effort to continue their ideologically based procedures masquerading as medicine,” Bailey’s office said.

Transgender surgeries and drugs, in addition to asserting a false reality that one’s sex can be changed, are linked to serious, permanent physical and psychological damage, including cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, cancer, stroke, infertility, and drastically increased instances of suicidality, as LifeSiteNews has extensively reported.

Missouri’s move to set up guardrails around irreversible gender interventions follow Bailey’s announcement last month that he would issue guidance on the procedures after a former employee at a pediatric gender clinic spoke out about the “morally and medically appalling” interventions taking place at the clinic.

Self-identified political progressive and “queer woman” Jamie Reed, 42, said she left her job as a case manager at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in November because she could no longer support what the center was doing to gender-confused minors.

“By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ‘do no harm,’” she said. “Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care.”

READ: Former transgender clinic employee blows whistle on ‘appalling’ mutilation of children

The Missouri House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban transgender procedures for minors. The measure now awaits Senate approval.

However, the Missouri attorney general’s spokesperson said Bailey would work to protect all Missourians, not just kids.

“We have serious concerns about how children are being treated throughout the state, but we believe everyone is entitled to evidence-based medicine and adequate mental health care,” spokeswoman Madeline Sieren said.

Activists and doctors who adhere to transgender ideology have reacted with outrage to the move to protect Missouri residents from rushing into permanent and destructive interventions.

A spokesman for LGBTQ rights groups PROMO argued earlier this month that, through imposing the new regulation, the attorney general is “essentially attacking the entire trans community at this point” and that the legislative pushback against transgender ideology is “no longer just about children.”

Transgender advocates often argue that so-called “gender-affirming care” (GAC), including mutilating transgender surgeries and cross-sex hormones, are “lifesaving” because they help reduce suicidal ideation for gender-confused individuals. But robust research is scanty, and numerous existing studies suggest the exact opposite.

A 2019 study by Richard Bränström, Ph.D., and John E. Pachankis, Ph.D., that appeared to support the theory that “GAC” improves mental health, for example, was later retracted. A 2020 correction to that study found the “results demonstrated no advantage of surgery in relation to subsequent mood or anxiety disorder-related health care visits or prescriptions or hospitalizations following suicide attempts in that comparison.”

A 2010 meta-analysis concerning transgender surgical and pharmaceutical interventions concluded with “very low quality evidence” that “sex reassignment that includes hormonal interventions in individuals with GID likely improves gender dysphoria, psychological functioning and comorbidities, sexual function and overall quality of life,” with the caveat that “methodological limitations related to individual studies and the review synthesis suggest that it should not be considered reliable.”

Further, a 2011 Swedish cohort study also found that “persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population.”

A March 2022 study found that “82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth.”

Meanwhile, even as Missouri is unique in pursuing safeguards against the harms of transgenderism for all people, not just those under age 18, many other Republican-led states have already moved to curtail the procedures for minors amid a major cultural and political push to shield America’s young people from the ideological and physical dangers of transgenderism. Those states include Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and West Virginia.

This article was updated to clarify the results of the 2010 meta-analysis cited.