Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to police officers about protecting law and order on Feb. 20, 2023 in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty Images
Sixteen Democratic attorneys general have condemned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' request for information about students who sought or received gender-affirming care at public colleges in Florida.
Driving the news: DeSantis has asked state universities to complete a survey detailing the numbers and ages of students who have accessed treatments for gender dysphoria, including gender reassignment surgeries and hormone prescriptions.
What they're saying: "This information request may be intended to intimidate, and will actually intimidate, university administrators and health care providers and chill vulnerable students … from accessing necessary medical care," the coalition, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, wrote in a letter to DeSantis this week.
- "Further, public reports suggest that you may seek to use the information sought to eliminate funding for necessary gender-affirming health care for students."
- "Such actions jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of young people and their families, contravene well-accepted medical standards, unduly insert the state into the provider-patient relationship, violate students’ rights under federal law—including privacy—and offend basic human rights," the letter noted.
- "Accordingly, we urge you to reconsider this action and rescind the information request immediately."
- A spokesperson for DeSantis did not immediately return a request for comment.
State of play: Reputable medical groups, including the American Medical Association, have warned that restrictions on gender-affirming care could lead to negative impacts on mental health for trans youth, who have an increased risk of suicide.
- But DeSantis and other high-profile Republicans — including former President Trump — have homed in on gender-affirming care as a target and sought to restrict trans people's ability to access it.
- DeSantis' administration has asked the state board regulating doctors to essentially ban transition-related care for trans minors and advised doctors to ignore federal guidance and stop assisting children and teens with gender transitions.
- He also signed a bill in 2021 to ban trans girls from participating in school sports that align with their gender identity.
Worth noting: The Florida Board of Medicine finalized a rule in November to bar health providers in the state from offering gender-affirming care for minors. All of the members of the state's medical board were appointed by DeSantis.
The big picture: At least 97 pieces of legislation introduced in state legislatures in 2023 seek to ban aspects of gender-affirming medical care, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union.
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