Federal judge allows Florida to enforce ban on transgender care for adults

By: - September 12, 2023 5:16 pm

Protesters outside a Florida Board of Medicine hearing on restricting trans care, Aug. 5, 2022. Credit: Brooke Baitinger

The same federal judge who enjoined enforcement of Florida’s new limits on transgender care for minors has declined to do the same on behalf of adults who have joined the underlying lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle on Monday concluded that four adult plaintiffs hadn’t established evidence that they’d suffer unduly if the law continued to be enforced. He noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in a ruling last month dissolved a trial judge’s injunction against a similar Alabama law.

Hinkle in June blocked a state ban on administration of gender-affirming therapies, including puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or surgery, for any patient under the age of 18. Medical evidence supported these treatments’ efficacy and safety, he concluded, and the state offered no rational basis to ban them.

As for the adults, two said their doctors had stopped offering hormone treatments but they might be able to find the therapy elsewhere, Hinkle wrote. The other two had gender-confirming surgeries cancelled, but Hinkle concluded that an injunction wouldn’t make the doctors any more likely to perform them.

Hinkle has set trial for Nov. 13. The state can continue to enforce the law, SB 254, for now.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys promised to “lay out the full evidence of the state’s deliberate targeting of transgender Floridians through the harmful, arbitrary, and medically unjustified rules enacted in SB 254. We also encourage transgender Floridians and their families to seek out resources and take all the steps they can to get the essential medical care they need to live healthy and happy lives.

“Florida’s SB 254 is part of a broader landscape of laws that are hurting transgender people in Florida and across the country. We will continue to challenge these dangerous bans that deliberately single out transgender people for discriminatory treatment and ignore well-established medical research until they are permanently overturned.

“All of us who believe in fairness, science, and freedom must also keep fighting on every level to ensure people in Florida and across the country can live their lives free from draconian and unlawful attacks on their health and wellbeing.”

Representing the plaintiffs are GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Southern Legal Counsel, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.

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