Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Federal judge strikes Florida ban on gender-affirming care for children

The judge also blocked requirements that would make accessing care harder for transgender adults.

06/11/2024 02:52 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal judge has ruled that Florida’s new restrictions on gender-affirming treatment for children are unconstitutional, and that Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican lawmakers who supported them were not acting in the interest of public health.

By refusing to allow children to access treatments, Tallahassee-based district court Judge Robert L. Hinkle wrote in a ruling handed down Tuesday that DeSantis and Republicans who voted for the measure responded in a way that was similar to racism and misogyny.

“Enforcing this moral view is not, however, a legitimate state interest that can sustain this statute,” Hinkle — an appointee of President Bill Clinton — wrote, partly borrowing from arguments that lawyers for the plaintiffs gave during trial in December.

The ruling is a major win for a coalition of human rights groups that filed the federal lawsuit arguing the ban violated equal protection rights. “Today’s ruling affirms the principle that individuals should be able to make informed decisions about their own personal medical treatments without discrimination by the State,” Thomas Redburn, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

In response to Hinkle’s ruling, Jeremy Redfern, a spokesperson for DeSantis, said the court was wrong to override the wishes of the people, which were conveyed through their elected representatives, and the state of Florida will appeal.

“We disagree with the Court’s erroneous rulings on the law, on the facts, and on the science,” Redfern wrote in a text. “As we’ve seen here in Florida, the United Kingdom, and across Europe, there is no quality evidence to support the chemical and physical mutilation of children. These procedures do permanent, life-altering damage to children, and history will look back on this fad in horror.”

Hinkle’s ruling also struck down restrictions for adults that were included in FL SB254 (23R), which DeSantis signed into law just over a year ago. They include requiring that only doctors, as opposed to other medical professionals, prescribe medicine for gender-affirming treatment and requiring annual x-rays without regard for circumstance.

The law was the result of a presentation that Florida Surgeon General Joseph A. Ladapo gave to the state boards of Medicine and Osteopathic medicine in 2022 that compelled the two boards to approve similar restrictions by making new rules. DeSantis then asked the Legislature to codify the board rules, saying that gender-affirming care includes castrating and sterilizing children, and mastectomies for girls. Hinkle noted in the ruling that surgeries on minors are extremely rare.

In the ruling, Hinkle wrote DeSantis’ comments about castration were false, and they proved that the governor’s intent of the measure was not to protect the public.

“Whether based on morals, religion, unmoored hatred, or anything else, prohibiting or impeding a person from conforming to the person’s gender identity rather than to the person’s natal sex is not a legitimate state interest,” Hinkle wrote.

The plaintiffs in the case were four transgender adults and seven parents who appeared on behalf of transgender children, and it was the second major lawsuit filed against efforts by Florida to block transgender care. Hinkle in June of last year issued a separate ruling striking down rules made by the state Agency for Health Care Administration that banned Medicaid from covering gender-affirming care.

Hinkle in June 2023 had also issued a preliminary injunction in the case he decided Tuesday that blocked part of the ban on transgender treatments for children for the plaintiffs. The state appealed that ruling and that decision is pending, although Hinkle’s more expansive ruling could make that appeal moot.


  1. am beginning to believe that no one understands puberty blockers, castration wow!!!