Federal judge strikes down Florida’s gender-affirming care ban; state vows to appeal

by | Jun 11, 2024

A federal judge struck down Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors, deeming it unconstitutional and noting the law violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors, declaring the law unconstitutional and permanently enjoining its enforcement.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in favor of plaintiffs in the case, which was brought by four transgender adults and seven parents of transgender minors. The plaintiffs argued that the statute and accompanying rules violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and infringed on the substantive due process rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.

In his 105-page order, Hinkle asserted that gender identity is a “deeply ingrained aspect” of a person’s identity, and noted endorsements from major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society.

“The overwhelming weight of medical authority supports treatment of transgender patients with puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in appropriate circumstances,” Hinkle wrote.

Hinkle further ruled that the defendants, including Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and the Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine, failed to present credible evidence that the prohibitions were based on genuine medical concerns.

On the broader implications of the state’s regulation, Hinkle ordered that it imposed “undue burdens” on both minors and adults seeking gender-affirming care. The statute prohibited minors from receiving puberty blockers and hormone treatments, with a narrow grandfather clause for those already undergoing such treatments before the law took effect. For adults, the statute imposed restrictive measures, including bans on telehealth consultations and requirements that only physicians, not advanced practice registered nurses, could prescribe the medications.

“The State of Florida can regulate as needed but cannot flatly deny transgender individuals safe and effective medical treatment,” Hinkle concluded.

The Executive Office of the Governor confirmed to The Capitolist that the State intends to file for an appeal.

“Through their elected representatives, the people of Florida acted to protect children in this state, and the Court was wrong to override their wishes. 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. These procedures do permanent, life-altering damage to children, and history will look back on this fad in horror. Under Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida will continue to fight to ensure children are not chemically or physically mutilated in the name of radical, new age “gender ideology.” “We will appeal this ruling.”


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