Florida’s ban on gender transition procedures for minors has gone into effect, with the state’s Republican lawmakers pushing for more restrictions.
The Florida Board of Medicine’s new measure prohibits the use of puberty blockers, hormone therapy or surgery for the treatment of gender dysphoria for those under 18. However, those who were already undergoing gender-affirmation treatment before the new rule can continue to do so, but cannot undergo sex-reassignment surgeries.
GOP lawmakers are also advancing a bill in the Florida Senate that would make it a crime to provide such care to minors and prohibit state funds from covering such care for adults. Gov. Ron DeSantis defended the new rule after President Biden criticized it, calling it “next to sinful.”
“It’s terrible what they’re doing,” Biden said on “The Daily Show” earlier this week. “It’s not like, you know, a kid wakes up one morning and goes, ‘You know, I decided I wanted to be a man,’ or ‘I want to be a woman.’ … I mean, what are they thinking here? ?”
“It’s cruel,” the president added.
DeSantis responded to the president, tweeting, “It is not ‘sinful’ to ban the mutilation of minors. It is not acceptable for the federal government to mandate that procedures like sex-change operations be allowed for children.”
Florida’s law comes after the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine announced in November that they would approve the new ban. Medical Board member and pediatric anesthesiologist Dr. Hector Vila referred to “hundreds of studies” that were reviewed before making the decision. Vila argued that “the data overwhelmingly do not support” the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy.
“This board is not against research; it does not go against the care of transgender children”, said Vila.
Florida Board of Medicine President Scot Ackerman echoed the statement: “What the board has wanted to do is protect our children from therapies that have irreversible harm… So it’s a very limited therapies that have been restricted, but this council still wants these patients cared for, absolutely,” according to Orlando Weekly.
Several other US states are following in Florida’s footsteps by passing similar measures. Kentucky recently passed a new bill, overwhelmingly supported by GOP lawmakers, to ban gender transitions for minors. The bill also includes provisions that allow teachers to refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns and prohibit schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age. Supporters argue that these measures are intended to protect children from undergoing gender-affirming treatments that they may later regret as adults. “We’re talking about removing healthy body parts that can’t be put back on,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor. “I’ve seen the pictures. It’s horrifying.”
Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, has also signed a bill that would ban gender transitions or sex reassignment surgery for anyone under the age of 18. Additionally, the Republican governors of South Dakota and Utah have signed similar bans on gender affirmation this year.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill banning gender reassignment surgery on children.
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OPINION: This article contains comments that reflect the opinion of the author.