ST. LOUIS—Two weeks after a new state law took effect which prohibits gender transition surgeries and new prescriptions for puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones for minors, Washington University announced it would no longer offer those prescriptions for minors who would still qualify for them under the law.

Senate Bill 49, which has upheld in the face of a legal challenge before it took effect Aug. 28, for the next four years, allows minors to continue existing treatment if started before the bill’s effective date.

But the University said Monday it was legal liability that forced the decision.

“We are disheartened to have to take this step. However, Missouri’s newly enacted law regarding transgender care has created a new legal claim for patients who received these medications as minors. This legal claim creates unsustainable liability for health-care professionals and makes it untenable for us to continue to provide comprehensive transgender care for minor patients without subjecting the university and our providers to an unacceptable level of liability,” the school said in a statement.

It follows a similar decision by MU Health Care, based in Columbia.

Patients currently getting those treatments at Washington University’s Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital will be referred to other service providers. The Center, which has been under state scrutiny by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office since a whistleblower came forward earlier this year, will continue educational and mental health care for patients.

Bailey’s office had pushed for the Transgender Center to stop prescribing the medications in the wake of the whistleblower’s claims, and later authored a set of emergency rules regarding standards for transgender medical care for minors that also would have affected treatment for adults. 

A judge blocked the rules in court and they were withdrawn later as state lawmakers moved to pass Senate Bill 49, along with another bill that bans transgender athletes for four years.

On Monday, Washington University defended its handling of minors seeking transgender medical care.

“Our medical practitioners have cared for these patients with skill and dedication. They have continually provided treatment in accordance with the standard of care and with informed consent of patients and their parents or guardians. We are grateful to our providers for their dedication to their patients and their profession.”