TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The GOP-controlled Florida Legislature passed a bill Thursday that bans transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers, sending to Gov. Ron DeSantis a measure that opponents say will further marginalize vulnerable kids.
The bill, which DeSantis requested, also prohibits universities, local governments and other agencies that access the state’s Medicaid programs from using public dollars to cover such treatments for anyone in Florida. And it makes it easier for patients to sue doctors who performed gender-affirming treatments.
Once the governor signs it into law, Florida will join more than a dozen other states that currently prohibit doctors from providing minors with gender-affirming care such as hormone therapies or, in some rare cases, surgeries.
The legislation the House approved on a 83-28 vote, SB 254, is less restrictive than previous versions of the measure. One of those versions sought to bar private insurance companies from covering gender-affirming care to minors and adults and forbid any changes to gender on birth certificates for transgender individuals.
But the sponsor of the House bill, state Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay), said he’ll revisit those provisions during Florida’s next annual legislative session.
“We cannot let perfect be the enemy of good,” Fine said. “There are certainly things we wanted in our bill and there’s always next year.”
The measure marks the latest bill the Florida Legislature passed focusing on the transgender community. On Wednesday, GOP lawmakers approved a bill that ban school employees from asking students for their preferred pronouns and restricts school staff from sharing their pronouns with students if they “do not correspond” with their sex. They also passed a bill that makes it a misdemeanor trespassing offense for someone to use bathrooms in government buildings and schools that don’t align with their sex at birth.
DeSantis, who is expected to announce a White House bid in the coming weeks, has publicly objected to gender-affirming care and said doctors who perform such related surgeries should be sued. His administration last year blocked state-subsidized health care from paying for treatments of transgender people while Florida medical boards also banned transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care.
The state actions banning Medicaid payments and minors for receiving gender-affirming care are currently facing separate lawsuits in federal court.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association support gender-affirming care for adults and adolescents. But medical experts said gender-affirming care for children rarely, if ever, includes surgery. Instead, doctors are more likely to recommend counseling, social transitioning and hormone replacement therapy.
Democrats said Thursday that the bill banning minors from receiving gender-affirming care will hurt children diagnosed with gender dysphoria and will lead to transgender people being alienated in Florida.
“Trans people are no different because they are humans too,” state Rep. Jennifer “Rita” Harris (D-Orlando) said. “Their existence is valid, and they’re no more likely to commit a crime or seek to hurt someone than anyone else.”
By: Arek Sarkissian
Title: Florida Legislature votes to ban gender-affirming care for minors
Sourced From: www.politico.com/news/2023/05/04/florida-house-ban-transgender-treatment-00095317
Published Date: Thu, 04 May 2023 13:53:43 EST
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