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Florida Board of Medicine rule nixes puberty blockers, other gender treatments for minors

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The Florida Medical Board and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine have issued the draft of a new rule prohibiting physicians from providing puberty blockers and other gender-dysphoria-related treatments to those younger than 18 -years-of-age. The draft was approved by the medical boards on Nov. 4.

Specifically, the rule prohibits physicians from performing sexual reassignment surgeries and other surgical procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics, and from prescribing puberty-blocking, hormone, and hormone-antagonist therapies. Those therapies may be taken to block hormones that make someone stop becoming more masculine or feminine.

Under the rule, some nonsurgical gender dysphoria treatments for minors that qualify as clinical trials may continue to take place as long as those trials include “longitudinal assessments of the patients’ physiologic and psychologic outcomes.”

Minors who are being treated with puberty blocking, hormone, or hormone antagonist therapies before the rule becomes effective, may continue their therapies.

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Florida’s Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo said the decision would protect children from “irreversible surgeries and highly experimental treatments.”

“I appreciate the integrity of the Boards for ruling in the best interest of children in Florida despite facing tremendous pressure to permit these unproven and risky treatments,” Ladapo said. “Children deserve to learn how to navigate this world without harmful pressure, and Florida will continue to fight for kids to be kids.”

Meanwhile, Nikole Parker, director of Transgender Equality for Equality Florida said that the proposed rule will put transgender youth increased at risk.

“Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care, ” Parker said in a written statement. “These rules, as written, put transgender youth at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidality.”

Those who oppose the rule have 21 days to file administrative challenges to it.

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