Gov. Ron DeSantis-backed bans, limits on gender-affirming care inch closer to trial
by Lily Fineout

DeSantis transrights
The families and individuals suing contend the state relied on biased information to justify its decisions.

There’s a big legal showdown coming in Florida over the Legislature-approved ban on certain types of treatment for transgender individuals that Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration pushed.

A trial challenging medical board rules and a law that banned treatment for minors and put limits on care for adults is on target to begin Dec. 12. A final pre-conference hearing is slated for this week, and both sides have put out their witness lists and filed dozens of exhibits ahead of the trial.

The case began last March as the parents of transgender minors filed an initial lawsuit against State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s medical boards and the DeSantis administration, but it has since expanded into a class action legal challenge on behalf of transgender minors and adults.

The legal challenge will go before U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, who previously blocked the state from enforcing its ban against certain types of treatment for minors but limited that ban to just the families that were part of the initial lawsuit. Hinkle this past summer, after a two-week trial, also struck down a law and rule that invalidated Medicaid from paying for gender-affirming care for individuals. That ruling has been appealed.

But in September Hinkle ruled against a request to also block enforcement of Florida’s law that applies to adults. Hinkle based his decision in part of a federal appeals court ruling that reversed an injunction against an Alabama law that outlawed the use of puberty blockers and hormones to treat transgender children.

The families and individuals suing contend the state’s actions are discriminatory and illegal under federal law. They argue the state relied on biased information to justify its decisions.

“These measures constitute a clear expression of governmental hostility toward transgender Floridians,” states the main trial brief filed earlier this month by attorneys representing the transgender families and adults suing the state. “Collectively they establish an official public policy of disapproval of transgender people, with the goal of preventing transgender Floridians from participating openly or equally in civil society. No other state in the country has enacted as many anti-transgender (policies) as Florida, nor has any other state enacted measures as extreme as some of Florida’s new laws, including its imposition of restrictions even on medical care for transgender adults.”

Attorneys representing the state — including the office of Attorney General Ashley Moody — contend those suing Florida have had their legal arguments undercut after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Alabama law. The attorneys also say the adopted restrictions are “reasonable.”

“The Eleventh Circuit held that there’s no fundamental parental right to obtain gender-dysphoria treatments, and that laws that regulate gender-dysphoria treatments are neither sex nor transgender-status discrimination,” states the main trial brief filed by the state. “If anything, this case is about the State’s actions to protect children, to protect patients, to safeguard the medical profession, and to ensure a high quality of medical care for Floridians. Those are more than rational reasons — they are compelling governmental interests — and are advanced by the challenged laws.”

The trial is scheduled to last several days and the initial witness list says those suing plan to call to the stand the parents of two transgender children and doctors who treat transgender patients. But the witness list also says they “may call” Rep. Randy Fine, whose called types of transgender treatments “evil,” as well as some members of Florida’s Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

The state plans to rely on a handful of doctors to defend the state rules and law. The trial exhibits will include evidence used in the earlier legal lawsuit that challenged Florida’s Medicaid ban on treatments.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Earl Pitts "America's-Go-To-Political--Guru" American

    November 27, 2023 at 11:00 am

    Good Morn ‘Ting America,
    Boy or Girl – Man or Woman as the Good Lord in His Great Wisdom assigned at Birth.
    If you want to dress up and pretend to be the opposite gender kindly keep that shizz at home, in your bedroom, with the blinds/curtains closed.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

  • rbruce

    November 27, 2023 at 11:58 am

    By definition, gender is not a physical trait but a social construct. Only medical care that should be administered is mental health treatment.

    • PeterH

      November 27, 2023 at 12:28 pm

      …..another arm chair influencer lacking a medical doctor / psychiatric degree!

    • just sayin

      November 28, 2023 at 9:38 am

      Yes, the party of science has declared the Y chromosome to be a social construct.

  • PeterH

    November 27, 2023 at 12:25 pm

    If you look across the country at red states …… you will observe a concerted collaborative effort by uneducated red state governors with zero medical background to impose these hateful laws. DeSantis led the charge and his authoritarian policies have destroyed his chances to ever sit in the Oval Office.
    Republicans are America’s worst enemy!
    Vote all Republicans out of office!

  • PeterH

    November 27, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    There is a fascinating article today on the POLITICO web site exposing DeSantis’s very expensive, poor choice of Dr. Ladapo to serve as Florida’s chief medical officer AND a tenured position at the University of Florida. The professors at the University didn’t call the appointment a grift but they did call Ladapo unqualified and a charlatan!

    • Michael K

      November 28, 2023 at 11:37 am

      His salary is north of $400k for doing… nothing but serving as a medical sycophant.

  • Sickof Hypocrites

    November 28, 2023 at 8:35 am

    This is the “free state of Florida” – run by the small government party, the one that insists you don’t have to have medical treatments you don’t want but now says you can’t have medical treatments you DO want, and now says it wants to control how you dress and what you look like?

    That could only be possible in DeSantistan.

  • Sonja Fitch

    November 30, 2023 at 5:35 am

    Omg There is more to gender than the genitalia! Stupid! If you choose a doctor you still have the right to disagree! But the law only punishes women for the choice! Stop!!!!!

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      November 30, 2023 at 1:12 pm

      “But the law only punishes women for the choice!”

      Thats the entire point. Cruelty and power over people they don’t like. Republicans don’t want to govern anymore. They want to rule.

Comments are closed.


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