Judge strikes down Florida ban on some transgender surgeries, hormonal treatments for minors

1 min read
transgender surgeries
Adobe Stock

(OSV News) — A federal judge June 11 struck down key portions of a Florida law banning certain types of medical or surgical gender reassignment procedures for minors who identify as transgender.

Calling the law unconstitutional, Judge Robert L. Hinkle of U.S. District Court in Tallahassee ruled in favor of advocacy groups and families who challenged the 2023 law enacted by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, arguing that the law stripped them of parental rights regarding medical decisions for their children.

Judge declares Florida law unconstitutional, DeSantis to appeal

“The state of Florida can regulate as needed but cannot flatly deny transgender individuals safe and effective medical treatment — treatment with medications routinely provided to others with the state’s full approval so long as the purpose is not to support the patient’s transgender identity,” Hinkle wrote.

In a statement, DeSantis’ office said it will appeal the ruling.

“Through their elected representatives, the people of Florida acted to protect children in this state, and the Court was wrong to override their wishes,” the statement said. “We disagree with the Court’s erroneous rulings on the law, on the facts, and on the science. 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.”

Trend of state legislation

At least 25 states have adopted laws restricting or banning gender reassignment surgery or hormonal treatments for minors, although not all of those bans are currently in effect amid legal challenges, according to data from the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ+ policy group.

In guidance on health care policy and practices released in March 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine opposed interventions that “involve the use of surgical or chemical techniques that aim to exchange the sex characteristics of a patient’s body for those of the opposite sex or for simulations thereof.”

Catholic bishops’ opposition to gender reassignment

“Any technological intervention that does not accord with the fundamental order of the human person as a unity of body and soul, including the sexual difference inscribed in the body, ultimately does not help but, rather, harms the human person,” the document states.

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops supported Florida’s law.

A 2022 study by the UCLA Williams Institute found that there are approximately 1.6 million people in the U.S. who identify as transgender, with nearly half of that population between the ages of 13 and 24.

Kate Scanlon

Kate Scanlon is a national reporter for OSV News covering Washington.