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Judge blocks Florida law protecting children from transgender procedures

American flag flying above pride flag in Florida Associated Press/Photo by Lynne Sladky

Judge blocks Florida law protecting children from transgender procedures

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle on Tuesday threw out a 2023 law that criminalized the administration of hormone treatments and puberty blockers to children with or without parental consent. The state can regulate but not flatly deny transgender medical treatment, Hinkle wrote in his 105-page ruling. He compared people who cite religious beliefs to condemn transgenderism to those who used religion to support racism or misogyny in history. Transgender opponents are welcome to disagree but may not legally discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender, Hinkle added.

Can minors have sex change surgeries now? The law only allows minors to receive hormone treatments and puberty blockers with parental consent. Sex change surgeries on patients under 18 are still illegal regardless of parental consent.

What else does the ruling do?

  • Hinkle’s order opens the door for other medical professionals, like nurses and physician assistants, to prescribe and perform transgender procedures on adults. The original protective law, now moot, stipulated that only physicians may prescribe and perform transition-related treatments on adult patients.

  • The Tuesday ruling also scrapped a provision requiring adult patients to meet with a doctor in person before starting transition procedures.

How have people responded to the ruling? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ' spokeswoman, Julia Friedland, said the court ignored what Floridians wanted by overturning this law. The governor plans to appeal this ruling and continue fighting to keep children safe from chemical or physical mutilation, she told WORLD.

Florida has shown blatant discriminatory intent toward transgender people, but today’s ruling makes clear that is not permissible, Human Rights Campaign Foundation leader Sarah Warbelow said in a statement. She added that there is no sound reason to keep people from making best-practice, medically necessary healthcare decisions for themselves—especially when the trade-off is the heartache in children and parents.

Florida’s transgender minor healthcare ban and adult restrictions are discrimination that cannot survive constitutional review, said Transgender Rights Initiative Director Simone Chriss.

Dig deeper: Read Mary Muncy’s report in Relations on companies and healthcare professionals potentially ignoring the dangers of transgender procedures.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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