TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In the coming days, a Florida lawmaker plans to file a bill banning gender dysphoria treatments for transgender youth under 18.
Chair of the House Health & Human Services Committee, Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, said to expect the legislation before the regular legislative session begins on March 7.
Fine's proposal comes after the Republican hosted a controversial panel discussion Tuesday. Participants, which included the head of Florida's Board of Medicine, condemned the treatments as unsafe and unproven.
"Maybe [the bill] will go beyond minors, but it will absolutely cover minors," Fine said, noting he wouldn't have a carveout for parental consent. "There's no parental right to child abuse. That's what this is."
Fine's plan is in line with recent action by Florida's medical and osteopathic boards. Members restricted physicians from prescribing the treatments for Florida children late last year.
Fine's forthcoming policy would be more permanent, he said, codifying opposition in state law.
"These people are making decisions that they can't undo," Fine said. "That's what's so heartbreaking about it. You shouldn't do these things when you're 13 years old. Think about all the dumb things you wanted to do when you were 13 years old."
The ban would go against recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Endocrine Society, and American Medical Association. All of the organizations consider the treatments beneficial, with physicians reporting they rarely include surgery.
"We should let the medical experts do their job and keep our noses out of it," Rep. Fentrice Driskell, the Florida House Minority Leader, D-Tampa, said.
Driskell, other Democrats, and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are already vowing a fight as some consider the proposed bill transphobic. They warned trans youth would suffer without access to care.
"We should not be using these kids as a political ploy," Driskell said. "Instead, we should focus on getting them the mental health resources they need, the health care resources they need, and making sure that they grow up healthy, prosperous, and safe."
Fine has dismissed the early criticism. He believed the GOP supermajority would deliver the bill to Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying, "I don't worry about this bill — this bill will pass."
Florida finds out if that's true when the session gavel drops next month.