Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Source: Governor's Office)

Florida Gov. DeSantis’ Office Blasts Federal Judge Tossing Law That Prohibited “Gender-Affirming” Care For Kids

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Source: Governor's Office)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Source: Governor’s Office)

A federal judge overturned a Florida law that restricted gender-affirming care for transgender minors and adults, deeming it unconstitutional. Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that the state overstepped by preventing transgender minors from accessing puberty blockers and hormone treatments with parental consent.

The judge also lifted restrictions on transgender adults receiving treatment from qualified medical professionals other than doctors and overturned a ban on online treatment.

Citing constitutional rights and invoking the words of Martin Luther King Jr., Judge Hinkle emphasized the necessity of legitimate medical treatment for transgender individuals and compared those opposing it to past opponents of equality.

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“Some transgender opponents invoke religion to support their position, just as some once invoked religion to support their racism or misogyny,” Hinkle wrote in his decision. “Transgender opponents are of course free to hold their beliefs. But they are not free to discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender.”

“In time, discrimination against transgender individuals will diminish, just as racism and misogyny have diminished,” he continued. “To paraphrase a civil-rights advocate from an earlier time, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, Florida Governor DeSantis’ Office snubbed the Judges’ decision and vowed to appeal.

“Through their elected representatives, the people of Florida acted to protect children in this state, and the Court was wrong to override their wishes,” the statement said. “As we’ve seen here in Florida, the United Kingdom, and across Europe, there is no quality evidence to support the chemical and physical mutilation of children. These procedures do permanent, life-altering damage to children, and history will look back on this fad in horror.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Legislature passed the law (SB 254) during the 2023 spring legislative session. In part, it barred doctors from approving puberty blockers and hormone therapy for the treatment of minors with gender dysphoria.

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It also required adults seeking hormone therapy or surgeries for gender dysphoria to sign informed-consent forms crafted by the medical boards. Also, under the law, only physicians — not nurse practitioners — are allowed to approve hormone therapy, and it banned the use of telehealth for new prescriptions.

Florida is among numerous Republican-controlled states that in recent years have approved proposals targeted at transgender people, with some of the highest-profile debates about banning treatments for transgender minors. Florida contends that such treatments are unproven and risky for minors — despite support for the treatments from major medical organizations.

DeSantis has called such treatments “child mutilation.”

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