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Tipsheet

Some Florida Doctors Stop Providing ‘Gender-Affirming’ Care to Trans Youth

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Some doctors in Florida have stopped providing “gender-affirming” care for youth as the state considers a ban for such procedures. “Gender-affirming” care includes hormone therapy, puberty blockers and sex reassignment surgery.

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According to the Tampa Bay Times, doctors in Miami and Tampa have stopped providing this type of care as state officials decide if children will be allowed to receive this kind of care in the foreseeable future. 

A surgery scheduled for a St. Petersburg transgender boy at Tampa General Hospital was canceled in June after both the hospital and the unaffiliated surgeon expressed concerns about performing the procedure over fears of future sanctions, according to the boy’s mother. More patients are traveling out of state to get treatment, according to some surgeons. It’s also become tougher for plastic surgeons to find hospitals willing to allow them to use operating rooms, said Sidhbh Gallagher, a Miami plastic surgeon who specializes in surgery for people transitioning gender.

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami said on Sunday that it stopped accepting new patients to its gender program, and several pediatric clinics have either followed suit or have ceased prescribing puberty blockers and hormones for children, said Michael Haller, chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida.

Townhall covered earlier this month that the Florida Board of Medicine was considering a proposal from the state’s Department of Health to block physicians from providing “gender-affirming” care to children who identify as “transgender.” Previously, Florida’s Department of Health came out against “gender-affirming” care for children, including letting minors “socially” transition, such as going by a different name and preferred pronouns.

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“Children experiencing gender dysphoria should be supported by family and seek counseling, not pushed into an irreversible decision before they reach 18,” Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in a news release published in April.

Ladapo’s statement came shortly after the Biden administration released guidance on “Transgender Day of Visibility” promoting this type of care for children, claiming that “gender-affirming care is neither child maltreatment nor malpractice,” which Townhall reported.

In addition, an executive from abortion provider Planned Parenthood told NPR in an interview that “gender-affirming” care would be limited in many states as abortion clinics shutter since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

"Both gender-affirming hormone care and abortions are essential health care that aren't offered by most providers, and both are stigmatized services," Ashley Coffield, the chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, told NPR. "So the same values we use in abortion care — like self-determination, respect and a nonjudgmental approach to health care — translate really easily into serving our gender-affirming hormone care patients."

Florida published a new rule this month that prohibits Medicaid coverage for “gender-affirming” care. The rule, 59G-1.050, published by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

“Providers must inform a recipient of his or her responsibility to pay for services that are not covered by Florida Medicaid, and document in the recipient’s file that the recipient was informed of his or her liability, prior to rendering each service,” the rule reads. It then outlines the different types of care not covered by Medicaid, including several kinds of “gender-affirming” treatment.

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(7) Gender Dysphoria.

(a) Florida Medicaid does not cover the following services for the treatment of gender dysphoria:

1. Puberty blockers;

2. Hormones and hormone antagonists;

3. Sex reassignment surgeries; and

4. Any other procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.

A 17-year-old girl in California who once identified as “transgender” spoke out in support of Florida Rule 59G-1.050 in a hearing before it took effect. The young woman, Chloe Cole, decided she was transgender at age 12 and medically transitioned during ages 13 to 17, taking puberty blockers and testosterone. She underwent a double mastectomy at 15.

“I really didn’t understand all of the ramifications of any of the medical decisions that I was making,” Cole said during the hearing. “I was unknowingly physically cutting off my true self from my body, irreversibly and painfully.”

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo posted a video of Cole sharing her story on Twitter. 

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to fully carry a child and I might be at increased risk for certain cancers, namely, cervical cancer,” Cole said. “I’m not able to breastfeed whatever future children I have.”

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“That realization actually was one of the biggest things that led to me realizing that this was not the path I should have taken,” she added. 

In a statement, Cole told Fox News Digital that parents should not transition their children. 

"If you are considering transitioning, please wait until you are a fully developed adult," Cole told Fox News Digital. "Transitioning can damage your body and mind in ways that we may not fully understand."

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