Florida medical boards ban gender transition surgeries, puberty blockers for minors

Operating room staff performs a surgery.
Operating room staff performs a surgery. | Getty Images

Florida is on track to become the fourth state to ban gender transition procedures for minors, as polling suggests that American voters are less likely to support candidates who favor allowing children to obtain the procedures whose side effects remain a cause for concern.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo announced last Friday that the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine voted to ban minors in the state from obtaining puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender transition surgeries.

"Today, the Boards of Medicine & Osteo Medicine voted to protect our children from irreversible surgeries & highly experimental treatments," he wrote on Twitter.

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"I appreciate their integrity for ruling in the best interest of FL children despite facing tremendous pressure to permit these risky & unproven treatments," Ladapo added. "Children deserve to learn how to navigate this world without harmful pressure. Florida will continue to fight for kids to be kids."

While the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine decision received praise from Ladapo and social conservative activists, the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign condemned the development.

"Today's vote to deny medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare to transgender young people will do irreparable harm to countless Floridian kids and their families," HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement Friday.

"The decision was based upon incomplete data and manipulated claims that do not reflect science, medicine, or any other evidence-based approach to life-saving, medically necessary care. It defies the recommendation of every major medical association. Transgender youth are already at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide due to stigma and discrimination, all of which will only be exacerbated by this denial of care."

Warbelow contends that decisions about gender transition should be "careful and deliberate consultation between doctors, patients, and their families, with the end goal of reducing the physical and emotional distress experienced by transgender children."

"The Florida Board of Medicine should take immediate steps to rescind this rule and provide the support that transgender youth need to thrive," the activist said. 

Florida's impending ban on gender transition services for minors is likely to put the state on a collision course with the White House.

In a recent forum with NowThis News, President Joe Biden declared that it was "wrong" to ban the procedures on minors, adding, "I don't think any state or anybody should have the right to do that as a moral question and as a legal question."

Florida's path to banning gender transition procedures for minors looks different from how the effort played out in the other three states where such restrictions have been approved.

Alabama, Arizona and Arkansas have approved legislation banning gender transition surgeries for minors. In two of the three states, the governors have signed the measures into law while the Republican-controlled Arkansas legislature overrode Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's veto of the bill.

Leaders in other states have also expressed opposition to allowing trans-identified youth to seek surgical intervention.

In Texas, the Department of Family and Protective Services has classified gender transition surgeries as a form of child abuse, while Texas' Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has crafted a formal opinion coming to the same conclusion.

The LGBT Movement Advancement Project, which takes the opposite view on the matter, cited Texas as an example of a state where "executives have attempted to limit or restrict medical care for transgender youth, but state law does not ban this care." 

Massachusetts has taken the opposite approach by establishing a constitutional right to what supporters refer to as "gender-affirming care."

The conservative American College of Pediatricians, which describes itself as a "national organization of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children," identified the potential side effects of puberty blockers as "osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility."

The ACP listed the potential side effects of cross-sex hormones as "an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers across their lifespan."

While opponents of sex change operations and similar interventions for trans-identified youth warn about the long-term impacts, supporters argue that failing to provide those with gender dysphoria with "gender-affirming care" negatively affects their mental health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes policies that it says would "discriminate against gender-diverse individuals, including children and adolescents, or limit access to comprehensive evidence-based care," claiming they could damage the "socioemotional health of children and families."

Public opinion polling reveals that Americans are less likely to support candidates who support policies that allow trans-identified youth to obtain puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender transition surgeries in the midterm elections.

A poll of 1,080 likely general election voters conducted by the Trafalgar Group in conjunction with Convention of States Action from Oct. 25 to Oct. 30 suggests that 63.3% of respondents were "not likely at all" to support "a candidate in the 2022 [midterm] elections who supports allowing underage minors to use puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and undergo sex-change surgeries."

An additional 9.4% indicated they were "somewhat less likely" to vote for a candidate who favored allowing minors to obtain interventions for gender dysphoria. In comparison, 13.3% reported being "somewhat more likely" to support such a candidate. The remaining 14.1% said they were "very likely" to support candidates who support giving minors access to sex change procedures.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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