The Florida Senate has passed a bill to ban sex change surgeries, puberty blockers, and hormone therapy for kids.
SB 254 passed 27-12 on Tuesday along party lines.
The proposed legislation includes the potential for felony charges against doctors who break the rules and provide sex change procedures or prescriptions to minors. It will additionally restrict the administration of prescription drugs for adult transgender patients to in-person appointments only, removing the option of telehealth services.
If passed, the law would additionally grant the state “temporary emergency jurisdiction over a child present in this state if the child has been subjected to or is threatened with being subjected to sex reassignment prescriptions or procedures.”
Bill sponsor Clay Yarborough told the Miami Herald that he believes “we need to let kids be kids.”
Yarborough added that “our laws need to set appropriate boundaries that respect the rights and responsibilities of parents while protecting children from the very serious health and safety concerns associated with these treatments.”
Democrat Rep. Tina Polsky argued that the bill is “persecution, plain and simple.”
Speaking to reporters about the bill, House Speaker Paul Renner, a Republican, said “I don’t think that young people should have their bodies mutilated until they have a chance to make a decision.”
Renner added, “When they’re adults, if that’s what they choose to do, then we support them in that decision. … And I think everybody in this room, everybody listening, knows that when you are a child developmentally, you are not ready to make those determinations.”
Senator Linda Stewart, a Democrat, issued a statement condemning the bill and claiming that it will “usurp parental rights in determining care for their children.”
“We shouldn’t bar parents from determining what is best for their child. Gender affirming care is often critical healthcare for the wellbeing of transgender youth, or any young person who is struggling to understand their sense of self,” said Stewart. “This bill further stigmatizes discussions between children and their parents about identity. This bill will just continue the cycle of misinformation and deprivation of appropriate medical care to one of our most marginalized communities.”
The Herald report notes that “the legislation came after the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, at the urging of the DeSantis administration, adopted rules that prevent doctors from providing the treatments to minors. Those rules went into effect last month.”
The bill will now head to the state’s House for approval before it can go to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for a signature.
A similar bill in the Florida House would require minors being treated with hormone therapies to be weaned off of them by December 31st.