A federal judge denied a request to put on hold parts of Florida’s Criminalizing Gender Affirming Care law (SB 254) that would impact transgender adults.
Judge Robert Hinkle from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida released his decision on Sept. 11.
“The challenged statute and rules do not prohibit adults from obtaining treatments of the kind the plaintiffs seek,” the order by Hinkle reads.
The order states that the two plaintiffs who are not able to receive hormone therapy from their doctors “may be able to obtain treatment from others,” and Hinkle also came to the conclusion that despite two surgeries for two other adults plaintiffs being canceled, “The record does not show that a preliminary injunction would affect the surgeons’ willingness to perform the surgeries at this time.”
Attorneys for the plaintiffs said that SB 254 serves “no purpose other than to intentionally prevent transgender people from receiving the care they need.
“This case is far from over, and we will continue to take every legal step to challenge this law that takes away Floridian’s ability to make important decisions about their own lives and hands it over to the government instead.”
The case will go to trial in November.
“We are moving full speed ahead to trial, and we won’t give up until all transgender Floridians have equal access to medical care,” Simone Chriss, the Southern Legal Counsel’s transgender rights initiative director, said in a statement.
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 254 into law in May, granting the state “temporary emergency jurisdiction over a child present in this state if the child has been subjected to or is threatened with being subjected to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures.” Doctors would lose their license for treating gender dysphoria in minors.
However, the bill also creates restrictions for adults. The law requires that adult patients have to sign an informed consent form and a doctor must oversee their transition in person. According to the Associated Press, many patients have been under the care of nurse practitioners as well as utilizing telemedicine for their care.
This comes after months of discussion and testimony before the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, where arguments were made that treatment should wait until a person is an adult.
“For trans adults, it’s devastating,” Kate Steinle told the Associated Press.
Steinle is the chief clinical officer at FOLX Health, which provides telemedicine care to trans adults. Because of the new law, the company is opening physical clinics and hiring more physicians licensed to provide care in Florida.
“Governor DeSantis’ war on medical freedom has manufactured a healthcare crisis for transgender Floridians,” Equality Florida said in a statement. “The ruling maintains politically-imposed barriers to life-saving and widely accepted medical care for adults motivated by nothing other than bigotry. This is about discriminatory government overreach into real people's lives. Every person should have the freedom to access healthcare without political interference – that includes transgender people.”
The advocacy organization shared that in its LGBTQ+ Community Survey, 81% wanted to or took steps to leave Florida because of laws impacting their medical freedom, and 62% said they would not consider moving to Florida because of these healthcare laws.