JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Doctors in Missouri could soon risk losing their license if they provide hormone treatment to transgender minors. 

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) originally started out by criminalizing parents who allowed their child to undergo any surgical or hormonal treatment, but Moon has since paired the bill back.

Yet, the legislation would still block any child under 18 from being allowed to participate in medical gender reassignment. 

Moon’s bill was heard in a Senate Seniors, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee Wednesday. It’s a hot button topic across the nation and only standing room was available in the Missouri Capitol for the hearing.

“My brother is a trans boy,” 8-year-old Suzie from St. Louis told committee members. “I love my brother. Sometimes he is annoying. Please don’t hurt them.”

Senate Bill 843 prohibits doctors from giving minors hormone treatments like prescription drugs or arranging surgery for gender transition. Any physician could lose his or her license for “unprofessional conduct” the bill reads. It also blocks public funds like Medicaid from going to facilities that offer those procedures. 

“Some may say the government should not restrict a minor’s ability to do irreversible harm to their bodies simply to satisfy a desire,” Moon said. “We don’t allow minors to purchase cigarettes, on the large part, minors cannot be tried as an adult and minors cannot purchase alcohol.”

The bill would not apply to minors who have sex development disorders or to treat infections, injuries, and diseases caused by gender transition procedures. 

Jennifer Gore with Concerned Women for America was one of the few in attendance that spoke in favor of the legislation. 

“It seems very reasonable to make it unlawful for children under the age of 18 to undergo gender reassignment surgery or hormonal treatment,” Gore said. 

Most individuals who testified during the 90-minute hearing spoke in opposition. 

“Publishing these bills causes stress, dignifying these bills with public hearings causes stress,” Nick Zingarelli, father of a transgender daughter, told the committee. “We can no longer subject our child and ourselves to our stress and we have decided to move out of Missouri.”

Zingarelli said their daughter wrote him and his wife a letter, telling them she was a girl, not a boy. Since that time, their family has met with other parents of transgender kids. 

“Regardless of where I live, I care about the rights of Missouri’s kids to be their true selves and to preserve their rights and to receive gender-affirming medical care,” Zingarelli said. 

Naomi Leibson also testified in opposition, scared for her and her friends’ life without health care. 

“Mental health can be severely affected due to the lack of transitional healthcare,” Leibson said. “I don’t want I, my friends, or my community to die because of the lack of health care.”

Rori Picker Neiss is an executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis and a mother of a transgender son. 

“I’m not asking you to understand this, I’m not asking you to even like it,” Neiss said. “We do not get to make laws just because you and I don’t like something or don’t understand.”

Neiss’ son Dan also addressed the committee, telling members he’s seen lots of doctors who approve the decision he’s made. 

“This is not the first time I’m here trying to convince people to let me be myself and stop trying to take away my basic rights,” Dan said. “Please stop taking away my choices. There are lots of medical people who have talked to me about this and made sure that I understand that this is my choice.”

Recently, U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s Twitter account was suspended for tweeting, “Women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women.”

The post has since been hidden and she’s been blocked from Twitter until she deletes it, which her campaign said won’t happen.

Here in Missouri, lawmakers are also trying to block transgender girls from being allowed to play on girls’ sports teams. The legislation, Senate Bill 781, is also sponsored by Moon and called the “Save Women’s Sports Act. It would prohibit individuals with “male” on their birth certificate from playing on any sports team designated for females. It also would stop any public or private high schools or middle schools from receiving any money from the General Assembly that doesn’t follow the law. 

Missouri State High School Activities Association already has a policy in place for transgender athletes, only allowing transgender females from competing on female sports teams after one year of hormone treatment. 

Senate Bill 781 passed out of the Senate Education Committee earlier this month, but Senate Bill 843 still needs to be voted on in committee before moving to the Senate floor for debate.