Protecting our Children

The majority party in the Missouri Senate began the 2023 legislative session determined to tackle tough issues. Few topics have received more attention this year than the contentious issues involving transgender youth. This week, the Senate advanced two bills addressing these concerns. One bill protects children from irreversible medical treatments for gender dysphoria, while the other ensures fair competition for female student athletes.
I’ve heard from many of you in the district about how important it was to you to get these bills passed this year. I’m happy to report the Missouri Senate has done its part. The two bills approved by the Senate still need to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the governor, but we’re closer to getting this legislative work done.
Senate Bill 39 establishes guidelines for transgender athletes’ participation in school sports. The legislation would prevent biological males from competing against biological females in competitions intended for female athletes. That means a transgender female – a student whose birth certificate indicates they were born male, but later underwent gender transition treatments – would not be allowed to compete in an athletic competition designated for female athletes. Girls would, however, still be allowed to compete in boys’ sports if no girls’ competition was available.
During my time as a school superintendent and principal, I always attended our sporting events and enjoyed seeing students compete to be the best they can be. Participating in school sports instills discipline and builds character in young athletes, but it’s essential the games are fair. That’s the reason there are separate male and female divisions in athletic competitions. It would not be fair to let boys go head-to-head against girls, due to the obvious physical advantage the male athlete enjoys. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens when a transgender female participates in school sports intended for biological females. It’s just not fair. Passage of SB 39 will make sure that no student will be robbed of competitive fairness when competing.
Senate Bill 49 would prohibit health care providers from performing gender transition surgeries, prescribing puberty blockers or providing hormone therapy treatments to minor children. Titled the “Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” the bill took on additional urgency earlier this year after a whistleblower accused a St. Louis clinic of performing irreversible gender transition procedures on minors without adequate counseling or clear explanations of the long-term consequences. The legislation passed by the Senate this week will help protect children from these type of irreversible procedures.
Protecting children will always be a priority of mine. As a mother, grandmother and educator, I’ve worked with and fought for children my entire life. I’ll continue to do that as your state senator.
It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Ozark, Shannon, Stone, Taney and Texas counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882.  You can also visit my webpage at, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.
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Howell County News

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