Florida judge rules ban on gender-affirming healthcare for minors ‘unconstitutional’

A Florida judge has ruled the ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth as “unconstitutional”.

In May 2023, the Florida state legislature passed an “extraordinarily dangerous” bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming healthcare to trans youth – including puberty blockers or hormone therapy.

But U.S District Judge Robert Hinkle has since blocked the bill.

He wrote in his 11 June 2024 105-page order: “Florida has adopted a statute and rules that ban gender-affirming care for minors even when medically appropriate. The ban is unconstitutional.”

Lawyers representing trans plaintiffs argued that the law, which was signed by DeSantis, was an act of discrimination and “animus” against the trans community. The state rebuked this, arguing that it was targeting the treatments, not trans people.

Hinkle ruled that it was “clear that anti-transgender animus” motivated the bill’s sponsors and legislators who approved the law.

“Transgender opponents are of course free to hold their beliefs,” Hinkle wrote in the ruling. “But they are not free to discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender. 

“In time, discrimination against transgender individuals will diminish, just as racism and misogyny have diminished. 

“To paraphrase a civil-rights advocate from an earlier time, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” he concluded.

Hinkle also disbanded rules which required trans adults to solely seek medical treatment from physicians, instead of other kinds of health providers.

However, DeSantis’ press secretary Jeremy Redfern responded via a statement, calling such live-saving treatment a “fad” and adding that the state would appeal Hinkle’s new ruling.

Redfern said: “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.”

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