Mar 16, 2023 - News

Florida's gender-affirming care ban for trans youth takes effect

Illustration of a stethoscope with a "no" symbol on the bell/diaphragm.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Florida's ban on gender-affirming health care for minors goes into effect today as Republican lawmakers seek to strengthen the ban and opponents make moves to fight it.

Driving the news: GOP legislators are now trying to codify the Florida Board of Medicine's ban with a proposed law that would also restrict adult care.

  • The bill advancing in the Florida Senate would make providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender minors a felony and would prohibit state funds from being used to cover the same care for adults.
  • A companion bill has been filed in the House.

Between the lines: The proposed legislation would also put trans health care at the center of custody battles in state courts, per the Miami Herald.

  • Parents would be able to seek court reviews of custody agreements to fight another parent’s ability to seek gender-affirming care for the child out of state.

Meanwhile: Nonprofit law firm Southern Legal Counsel plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging the state's ban.

Flashback: In November, the Florida Board of Medicine finalized a rule to prohibit health providers in the state from offering gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgeries, for transgender patients younger than 18.

  • It marked the first time that a state medical board — government bodies that regulate the practice of medicine in a state — had pursued such a rule, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reported.

The latest: Starting today, doctors who violate the rule risk being issued fines or having their licenses revoked by the board.

  • Current patients are still allowed to continue with treatment, since they've been grandfathered in.

Of note: 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 transgender youth.

Go deeper: Axios broke down what gender-affirming health care is, how it works and how it's covered by insurance.


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