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Florida Passes Bill Making It a Felony for Doctors to Perform Gender-Transition Surgery on Minors

Florida’s ban on gender transition procedures for minors has gone into effect, with Republican lawmakers in the state pushing for further restrictions.

The new measure by the Florida Board of Medicine prohibits the use of puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or surgeries for the treatment of gender dysphoria for anyone under 18 years old. However, those who were already receiving gender-affirming treatment before the new rule can continue to do so, but they cannot undergo sex reassignment surgeries.

GOP lawmakers are also advancing a bill through the Florida Senate that would make it a felony to provide such care to minors and ban state funds from covering such care for adults. Governor Ron DeSantis defended the new rule after President Biden criticized it, calling it “close to sinful.”

“It’s just terrible what they’re doing,” Biden told “The Daily Show” earlier this week. “It’s not like, you know, a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I wanted to become a man,’ or ‘I want to become a woman’ … I mean, what are they thinking about here?”

“It’s cruel,” the President added.

DeSantis hit back at the president, tweeting: “It is not ‘sinful’ to prohibit the mutilation of minors. It is not acceptable for the federal government to mandate that procedures like sex change operations be allowed for kids.”

Florida’s law comes after the Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine announced in November that they would approved the new ban. Board of Medicine member and pediatric anesthesiologist, Dr. Hector Vila, referred to “hundreds of studies” that were reviewed before the decision was made. Vila argued that the “overwhelming data does not support” the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

“This board is not against research; it is not against care for transgender children,” Vila said.

Chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine Scot Ackerman echoed the statement: “What the board has sought to do is protect our children from therapies that have irreversible harm … So it’s a very limited set of therapies that have been restricted, but this board still wants these patients cared for, absolutely,” according to Orlando Weekly.

Several other states across the US are following in Florida’s footsteps by approving similar measures. Kentucky recently passed a new bill, overwhelmingly backed by GOP legislators, to ban gender-transitions for minors. The bill also includes provisions allowing teachers to refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns and banning schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age. Supporters argue that such measures aim to protect children from undergoing gender-affirming treatments that they may later regret as adults. “We’re talking about removing healthy body parts that you cannot put back on,” said GOP Sen. Lindsey Tichenor. “I’ve seen the pictures. It’s horrifying.”

Mississippi’s Republican Governor Tate Reeves has also signed a bill into law that prohibits gender transitions or sexual reassignment surgery for anyone under 18. Additionally, Republican governors in South Dakota and Utah have signed similar bans on gender-affirming care this year.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill banning gender reassignment surgery on children into law.

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.