ST. LOUIS – New developments in what has become a lightning rod debate in Missouri have garnered national attention. The medical treatment of transgender children and teens took center stage again Wednesday in Jefferson City and Washington, DC.

This comes after BJC and Washington University announced they would continue to treat patients at their pediatric transgender center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The Missouri Attorney General had called for a moratorium on new patients after a whistleblower report accused the pediatric center of not properly vetting teens who received gender-affirming care.

Missouri lawmakers in Jefferson City are pushing for new legislation that would prohibit minors from receiving gender-affirming treatment such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy. On Wednesday, some Republican lawmakers held a press conference with two women from out of state who say they have detransitioned after receiving gender-affirming medical treatment as minors. Neither received treatment in Missouri but spoke out about how they were medicated, mutilated, and possibly sterilized by the treatment.

Meanwhile, Missouri US Senator Josh Hawley said he is surprised and disappointed by Washington University’s decision to continue medical treatment at the transgender clinic. He introduced federal legislation that would allow those harmed by gender transition procedures as minors to file lawsuits against the people and facilities who participated.

The pediatric clinic said on its website that sexual reassignment surgery is only offered to those over 18 years old. Transgender parents said they couldn’t sign off on surgery for a minor, even if they wanted to. Parents of transgender children said they want to raise their children just like any other parent and not have the government tell them what they can and cannot do.

Parents who have been very vocal are now terrified of being criminalized. Current legislation before Missouri lawmakers would ban gender-affirming treatment for children and criminalize anyone who assisted them. There are 27 bills introduced this session that would impact the LGBTQ+ community and transgender teens.