TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) -
A bill that would ban gender-reassignment procedures on minors has been introduced in the Florida Senate by a Senator from North Central Florida.
Senate Bill 1864 was introduced by Senator Dennis Baxley of Ocala. The bill would restrict doctors' access to perform sterilization surgeries, mastectomies, prescribing puberty-blocking medication, and/or removing healthy or non-diseased body part tissue on people 18 and under.
"To take a healthy child and do what might be potential harm for more psychological, social reasons...I think we need to have some policy about that," said Senator Baxley. "That's not just a private decision; that's a child and it's a policy about health care."
Opponents of the bill such as Kim Porteous, president of the Florida chapter of the National Organization for Women or NOW, believe this would hurt transgender children and teens.
"[It's] providing therapy that meets that child's needs," said Porteous. "So yes, it should remain legal to have hormones for a child that is transgender."
Senator Baxley says this bill is based on one goal and considers the needs of children in the state.
"This is about the safety and welfare of children," Baxley explained. "That's my primary responsibility here as a policymaker."
Porteous, however, says this bill would affect doctors' ability to practice medicine.
"We need to allow doctors to stay here that want to practice good [or who practice the] best practice medicines," Porteous explained.
Senator Baxley says this bill is not targeting the LGBTQ+ community, saying "they can live as a transgender or gay. They don't have to be medically altered at these young ages and it's really social experimentation in my mind that could have long term effects...so could sterilizing a child that could never have children."
Porteous says this bill is a matter of life or death for these children.
"Trans kids are more likely to commit suicide and to be harassed and bullied than any other children," Porteous said. "So these aren't just simple things that happen, these are things that are actually needed to save children's lives."
If Senate Bill 1864 passes, it would take effect July 1st of this year.