Florida House moves forward with bill banning transgender care for minors

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 9:28 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Florida’s House Health & Human Services Committee voted yes on a bill Monday that would prohibit minors from receiving gender-affirming care.

HB 1421 would ban hormone therapies and surgical procedures for children under 18. Doctors who ignore this rule would be charged with a third-degree felony. The legislation also would require minors who are already receiving gender-affirming treatments to end their care by the end of the year.

Lawmakers heard more than an hour of testimony during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting.

“Let’s be honest,” said one opponent. “This bill is not about protecting children. It is just another piece of a nationally coordinated effort to erase trans people from society because we do not fit into your narrow, religiously-motivated worldview.”

Others spoke out in support, saying they believe hormone therapy and gender-related surgery is child abuse.

“There is no such thing as a transgender child,” said a supporter of the bill. “They are called boys and girls, and they are beautiful, just as they are — no drugs or scalpels.”

The bill also impacts adults seeking to transition. It would ban insurers from covering gender-affirming care for adults and prohibit a person’s biological sex from being changed on a birth certificate. The bill is being sponsored by Republican representatives Ralph Massullo and Randy Fine.

“It’s about care. That it’s been distorted, to the point where it is abuse,” Massullo said during Monday’s meeting. “It’s abuse medically, by trying to change a child’s physiology, and it’s abuse surgically, by changing their bodies.”

The sponsors clarified in an amendment that this bill would not prevent people with breast cancer from using insurance to cover a procedure to remove breast tissue.

Monday’s committee hearing was the last stop for this bill before it moves to the full House for discussion and voting. A similar bill, SB 254, cleared both of its committee stops and will soon be voted on by the Senate.