Updated May 4, 2023 - Health

Florida lawmakers send gender-affirming care ban bill to DeSantis

Illustration of 5 syringes in the colors of the trans flag.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Florida legislature on Thursday passed a bill that bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth and adds restrictions for adults seeking care, sending it to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Why it matters: The Florida Board of Medicine already barred health providers from offering this type of care to trans minors. If enacted, this bill would codify those restrictions into state law, and would also add criminal penalties for physicians who provide gender-affirming treatments.

Don't forget: Major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, consider gender-affirming care to be medically necessary and potentially lifesaving to trans youth.

Details: SB 254 makes it illegal for health providers to provide gender-affirming care to trans youth under the age of 18.

  • The legislation also adds restrictions for adults seeking care, including requiring the patient to fill out a written form.
  • It also restricts the use of telemedicine for prescribing gender-affirming treatments.
  • Courts would get the authority to change the custody rights of a child if they seek gender-affirming care.
  • A provider who provides gender-affirming care to a trans youth could face up to five years in prison, and a provider who fails to get an adult’s written consent faces up to one year in prison.

Where it stands: The bill would take effect immediately upon being signed by DeSantis, who has previously said he opposes gender-affirming care for minors.

  • DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: "By passing this bill, Florida politicians are putting the lives and well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming people, especially youth, in danger," said Laura Goodhue, executive director at the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

  • "They are denying Floridians not just the freedom to access care and decide what is best for their bodies and lives, but the ability to exist freely in our state," Goodhue added.

Zoom out: So far, over 100 state bills have been introduced in 2023 that look to restrict access to trans health care.

Go deeper: Axios Explains: Gender-affirming care in the U.S.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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