TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee voted to pass Senate Bill 254 (SB 254), a dangerous bill that will drastically threaten the lives of trans children in Florida and criminalize health care providers who provide medically safe and appropriate standards of care.
The ACLU of Florida opposes this bill and its companion bill, House Bill 1421.
Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel, responded to today’s vote with the following statement:
“SB 254 is a dangerous, cruel, and inhumane bill designed to inflict harm on individuals experiencing gender dysphoria and prevent them from accessing the health care they need. It is an extreme example of government overreach into private medical decisions.
“This Governor and members of the legislature like to tout parental rights, but this bill takes away the right of parents to provide life-saving health care to their children. Parents, not politicians, know what is best for their own children, and they should be free to access the healthcare they need in consultation with their medical providers without governmental interference.
“The bill sponsor says that it is necessary to ban puberty blockers and hormone therapy for minors experiencing gender dysphoria because of potential ‘long-term harms’ that could be caused. But under this bill, the exact same prescription medications can be provided to children experiencing precocious puberty. If these prescription medications were truly harmful, they wouldn’t be allowed for any minors. Obviously, that rationale is merely a convenient pretext for differential treatment.
“Under the bill, it is medically appropriate for a doctor using their best medical judgment to prescribe these prescription medications to individuals experiencing precocious puberty, but if the same doctor using their best medical judgment prescribed the same medicine to a minor experiencing gender dysphoria, it would be a third-degree felony requiring up to five years in prison. This makes no rational sense and exposes the discriminatory intent of this bill.
“If this bill is signed into law, parents of trans children will face a grim choice: either move their families out of Florida to seek evidence-based, medically necessary care for their children, or stay in Florida and risk their children’s wellbeing.
“All Floridians should have the freedom to access the medical care they need to survive. These are the most basic of human rights.”