Florida Bill criminalizes sex reassignment care to transgender minors which limits gender-affirming healthcare
On Monday, March 13, 2023, a new Florida bill passed to make gender-affirming healthcare illegal for transgender minors. The new bill makes the provision of such care a felony. It would also keep the state from using the funds to cover medical care for transgender adults.
What does this latest bill mean for transgender minors and their medical care? Get all the details below.
Gender-affirming healthcare denied to minors
Senator Clay Yarborough sponsored the legislation. Last year in November, the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Board of Medicine already banned the use of surgeries, puberty blockers, or hormone therapies for gender dysphoria treatment for those under 18.
The statute includes language to codify the illegality of such care, stating that care providers can lose their license under the state’s Board of Medicine rule. The bill also states that any healthcare provider found violating the legislation will face a 3rd-degree felony.
The initial bill also had parents concerned because it stated that “anyone” providing sex reassignment care can face a 3rd degree felony. However, he changed the language of the bill to prevent doctors from providing such care.
Initial bill and custodial rights
Sen. Yarborough also added sweeping provisions to the initial bill. This would have meant that if a parent doesn’t support this transition for their child, they can file for custodial rights in court.
However, the Health Policy Committee of the Senate voted for a substitute stating that the courts in Florida have jurisdiction to change a child’s custodial agreement to protect a minor from sex reassignment procedures and prescriptions in another state.
Under this new provision, the court would consider circumstances where a parent who doesn’t support an out-of-state parent’s decision for sex-affirming care and procedure of a minor. That said, the court wouldn’t be required to act in any certain way.
This new provision also creates an opportunity for transgender minors in other states who can have the Florida courts intervene in their child custody agreement, according to Transgender Rights Initiative director Simone Chriss.
The LGBTQ+ families and advocates have raised their concerns about the bill. Many transgender children and their families are voicing their concerns regarding the risk of suicide among these children if they’re denied sex-affirming care.
The new bill not only prohibits gender-affirming medical care for minors, but it also affects adults. Chriss has challenged this provision along with other attorneys.
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