TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Senate Committee on Health Policy voted to pass Senate Bill 254 (SB 254) yesterday. The bill undermines providers of healthcare, threatening medical providers with criminal sentences for helping transgender youth access life-saving healthcare. The bill also threatens the revocation of medical licenses for any providers providing gender-affirming care to minors in Florida, prevents licensed nurses or other non-physician medical providers from providing such care, and prohibits any allocation of state funds for such care (which means any medical care paid for in whole or part by the state, like Medicaid or state employee plans).
This bill also enables Florida courts to interfere with custody determinations from other states if the child is physically present in Florida and a parent or guardian is seeking gender-affirming healthcare in another state.
The ACLU of Florida opposes this bill and its companion bill, House Bill 1421.
Kirk Bailey, political director, ACLU of Florida responded to the vote saying:
“This dangerous bill is an extraordinary governmental overreach, even among efforts to ban gender-affirming care. It will drastically threaten the lives of trans children either living in or visiting Florida.
“Under this bill, 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, without any help from their current medical providers in Florida, who risk criminal prosecution even for providing referrals to providers outside Florida; or they can stay in Florida and risk their children’s wellbeing in a state where any medical provider who helps their children could lose their medical license and be sent to jail.
“SB 254 infringes upon constitutionally protected parent-child relationships and also grossly undermines the rights of parents to provide medical treatment for their minor children in accordance with their doctors’ recommendations. This bill bans care for a serious medical condition, gender dysphoria, recognized by every major medical organization, but allows the exact same care for other diagnoses. Medical providers will be deterred from our state due to the threat of civil action, imprisonment, and the loss of their medical license.
“Across the country and in Florida, lawmakers have already enacted sweeping attacks on transgender people — particularly transgender youth. Last year, the governor signed a bill into law that erases LGBTQ+ issues, families, and youth from classroom discussions. Now, the State seeks to punish families for providing life-saving, critical, medically-necessary healthcare for their transgender children and people in Florida. This course of action is cruel and dangerous.
“Transgender people have the right to the same health care access afforded to their peers. No one should be prohibited from accessing the care they need.”