The state can now kidnap kids in Florida.
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a horrifying bill Wednesday that will let the state take transgender minors away from their families if they are receiving gender-affirming care.
The new law will allow the state to take custody of a child if they have been “subjected to or [are] threatened with being subjected to” gender-affirming care, which includes puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy. Florida courts could modify custody agreements from a different state if the minor is likely to receive gender-affirming care in that second state. The text refers to gender-affirming care as “sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures” and qualifies this care as a form of “physical harm.”
Medical facilities would have to give the state Department of Health a signed attestation that they neither provide gender-affirming care to any patients under the age of 18 nor refer people to providers that do. Their medical license renewal is contingent upon sending in this attestation.
But the bill also targets trans adults: Only physicians are allowed to offer gender-affirming care (not nurse practitioners). Anyone who violates the law could be charged with a misdemeanor.
Minors who have already begun transitioning will be allowed to continue to do so, but they are no longer allowed to receive care via telehealth, including for prescriptions. Their doctors have to tell them about the “risks” of gender-affirming care, and patients will have to sign an informed consent form, which the ACLU has pointed out often contains misinformation. Doctors who violate any of these new rules could be charged with a felony.
Republicans across the country have introduced bills targeting gender-affirming care, but this is one of the most extreme measures yet. The people who support these bills insist that they are trying to protect children, but forcibly taking a kid from their loving family sounds more likely to traumatize them. What’s more, by passing legislation that describes LGBTQ health care as something that should be penalized, lawmakers are putting people of all ages at risk of real harm.
DeSantis also signed an anti-drag bill the same day, which is expected to end all Pride Parades in the state due to its vague wording. You can read more about that bill here.
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