TAMPA, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican governor and likely presidential candidate Ron DeSantis on Wednesday officially banned mutilating transgender surgeries and drugs for minors as part of a broad legislative package to protect the state’s kids from transgender ideology. Not shy about wading into raging culture war issues, DeSantis opted to sign the bills, which have been decried by LGBT activists as a “slate of hate,” on the “International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.”
“Florida is proud to lead the way in standing up for our children,” DeSantis said in a Wednesday press release. “As the world goes mad, Florida represents a refuge of sanity and a citadel of normalcy.”
Part of the “Let Kids Be Kids” legislative package, Senate Bill 254 will explicitly prohibit destructive transgender surgeries and experimental drugs, including puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for anyone under age 18. The law will codify the Florida Board of Medicine’s October vote to ban the drugs and surgeries for minors.
With my signature, Florida permanently prohibits genital mutilating surgical procedures and experimental puberty blockers for minors.
Minors given these procedures without their consent will now be able to recover damages for permanent injury or death caused by these medical… pic.twitter.com/yedpRgowPP
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 17, 2023
Healthcare practitioners arrested for violating the law by “committing or attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit specified violations related to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures for a patient younger than 18 years of age” will have their licenses suspended. Florida minors who received the mutilating interventions without consent will have a pathway to sue for damages.
SB 254 would also grant Florida courts temporary emergency jurisdiction to intervene in the event that a child brought into the state “has been subjected to or is threatened with being subjected to sex-reassignment prescriptions or procedures.” That provision puts Florida in direct opposition to California, where Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last year signed a bill allowing state courts to assert custody jurisdiction over children from other states who have been transported to California to undergo gender interventions. While California courts will favor the pro-transgender parent in a custody dispute involving an allegedly trans-identifying child, Florida will favor the parent who wishes to guard the child from harmful transgender drugs and surgeries.
In a statement shared with LifeSiteNews, American Principles Project president Terry Schilling praised the Sunshine State led by DeSantis for “protecting children from the destructive transgender industry.”
“Governor DeSantis and state lawmakers were among the earliest to act to remove gender ideology from schools, and Florida’s Department of Health has been a rare voice of sanity amid the activist-captured medical establishment,” he said. “It’s no wonder families have been flocking to the Sunshine State in droves.”
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And Florida’s new legislation doesn’t stop at protecting children and teens.
SB 254 will also prohibit the use of state funds for mutilating transgender procedures and require providers to inform adults seeking transgender drugs and surgeries about the permanence of the interventions and the risks associated with them. As LifeSiteNews has extensively reported, transgender surgeries have been linked to permanent physical and psychological damage, including cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, cancer, stroke, infertility, and drastically increased instances of suicidality.
Additional laws included in the sweeping legislative package signed Wednesday include HB 1069, which prohibits schools from forcing children to state their gender pronouns. It also expands the state’s existing Parental Rights in Education bill banning the teaching of LGBT ideology in Florida’s kindergarten through third grade classrooms. Sexual orientation and gender identity-related curricula will now be banned in Florida schools from pre-K through eighth grade.
SB 1438, known as the Child Protection Act, will bar venues from allowing children to attend an “adult live performance” defined as “any show, exhibition, or other presentation in front of a live audience which, in whole or in part, depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities.” Violations of the law would constitute “an immediate, serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare,” authorizing the state to levy fines or pull the liquor licenses of noncompliant venues.
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Another of the laws in the legislative package is HB 1521, which seeks to curb the use of opposite-sex bathrooms and changing rooms by transgender-identifying individuals by requiring all “educational institutions, detention facilities, correctional institutions, juvenile correctional facilities, and public buildings with a restroom or changing facility” to have sex-specific “bathrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms” or else make available “one-person unisex facilities.”
Finally, HB 225 would allow children who are homeschooled or who attend private or virtual schools to “participate in sports and other extracurricular activities at other public or private schools, regardless of zip code.” The bill also explicitly protects sports teams that wish “to provide brief opening remarks, including prayers, before high school athletic contests.”
DeSantis already signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” banning gender-confused men and boys from competing on female sports teams in middle school through college in the summer of 2021.
In his Wednesday statement, Schilling said DeSantis “has once again shown why he is one of the staunchest allies of the pro-family movement.”
“We thank him and state legislators for their commitment to safeguarding Florida kids, and we urge other states to follow Florida’s outstanding, pro-family example,” he said.
Viewed as a strong contender for the U.S. presidency in 2024, Gov. DeSantis has earned support from conservatives for his dogged dedication to prominent cultural issues. In addition to actively opposing the gender ideology movement by protecting women’s sports, banning radical curricula, and prohibiting the transgender mutilation of children, DeSantis has fought liberty-crushing COVID-19 measures, ousted a state prosecutor for refusing to enforce pro-life laws, backed law enforcement against the “defund the police” movement, and signed pro-life legislation, including a 15-week abortion ban ahead of the rollback of Roe v. Wade and a six-week ban this year.
As more and more candidates throw in their hats for the 2024 presidential contest, Gov. DeSantis still hasn’t announced his own bid for the presidency though he is widely anticipated to do so soon.