Florida Republican bills bill to prosecute doctors who prescribe gender-affirming health treatments for trans youth

Photo: Florida State Capitol. Credit: Stuart Seeger / flickr.

A Florida Republican lawmaker running for Congress introduced legislation that would prosecute doctors who prescribe gender-affirming treatments for transgender children.

The bill, introduced by State Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills), would impose criminal penalties on any healthcare provider who performs transition-related surgeries on minors , as well as those who prescribe hormones or puberty blockers. transgender people under the age of 18.

Suppliers who break the law would be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, which means they could face up to a year in prison or a fine of $ 1,000.

The only exception the bill contains is if a person is born intersex, in which case parents can request surgery for their child – although such surgeries do not take into account the child’s autonomy for preferences. personalities of the parents, and can sometimes lead to gender dysphoria later if the gender “chosen” by the parents does not match an individual’s gender identity.

Sabatini has introduced a similar bill before during the ordinary legislative session, but the bill has never been heard by a committee – apparently due to Sabatini’s difficult relationship with his fellow Republicans, and not out of reluctance. from GOP lawmakers to intervene in personal medical decisions. , according to Florida Politics website.

Sabatini told the website he tabled the law after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) promised, in an interview with the Daily call in June, to support any bill banning gender-affirming surgeries for transgender children. DeSantis also signed a bill earlier this year to ban transgender youth from participating in sports teams that match their gender identity.

Sabatini, who is running in Congress against U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) – whose district should be gerrymander in order to favor Republicans – appears to be using the bill to solidify her conservative credentials. Many conservatives, not only in Florida but across the country, claim that treatments related to transition – including infrequently performed surgeries – are irreversible, harmful, and akin to sterilization or disfigurement. So far, only Arkansas and Tennessee have passed laws prohibiting gender-affirming treatment for minors, although similar bills have been introduced in nearly two dozen other states.

See also: Texas Governor Greg Abbott Says Gender-Affirming Surgeries for Minors ‘Child Abuse’

“It has always been the right thing to do; it should have been adopted years ago. This is a bipartisan common sense bill, “Sabatini told WKMG-TV, an Orlando CBS affiliate, adding,” I am against the forced castration and sterilization of children – anyone who isn’t. okay with that is mentally crazy.

Heather Wilkie, executive director of the Zebra Coalition, a nonprofit serving LGBTQ youth, said more education was needed for the general population to understand the nuances of gender-affirming surgery, especially since intersex people can also identify as transgender or non-binary.

“It’s a complete double standard. He’s trying to choose who can have gender-affirming surgery, ”Wilkie said of Sabatini’s bill. “It’s more complex than saying, ‘This population can have an operation, but this population cannot. “

Representative Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), an LGBTQ ally, told WKMG opponents of the bill should see it as a serious threat that has a good chance of being passed and enacted in the legislative session of the ‘next year.

“It’s disgusting; it’s a slap in the face for transgender kids and parents. What’s so arrogant is that it’s supposed to be about the safety of trans kids, but it bothers doctors and parents who want to the best for their children, “Eskamani said of Sabtaini.” He says he doesn’t want parents or children to make these decisions, but is it OK for a politician to decide?

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