Lawmakers in Florida have passed new legislation that would make it a felony for doctors to perform life-altering sex-change surgery on children.
The move comes after Florida’s ban on gender transition procedures for minors has already been passed.
However, Republican lawmakers in the state are now pushing for further restrictions and stricter penalties.
The new measure by the Florida Board of Medicine prohibits the use of puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or surgeries for the treatment of gender dysphoria for anyone under 18 years old.
Those who were already receiving so-called “gender-affirming treatment” before the new rule can continue to do so
However, they cannot undergo “gender transition” surgeries.
Despite new measures being put into place to protect children, reports have been emerging that doctors are now performing illegal surgeries on minors, as Slay News reported.
To tackle illegal procedures, GOP lawmakers are advancing a bill through the Florida Senate that would make it a felony to perform such treatments on minors.
The new legislation would also ban state taxpayer funds from covering such treatments for adults.
Democrat President Joe Biden responded to the efforts by Florida Republicans by blasting the measures as “close to sinful.”
“It’s just terrible what they’re doing,” Biden told “The Daily Show” earlier this week.
“It’s not like, you know, a kid wakes up one morning and says, ‘You know, I decided I wanted to become a man,’ or ‘I want to become a woman’ …
“I mean, what are they thinking about here?”
“It’s cruel,” Biden asserted.
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis fired back at Biden over the comments.
“It is not ‘sinful’ to prohibit the mutilation of minors,” DeSantis said on Twitter.
“It is not acceptable for the federal government to mandate that procedures like sex change operations be allowed for kids.”
Several other states across the US are following in Florida’s footsteps by approving similar measures.
Kentucky recently passed a new bill, overwhelmingly backed by GOP legislators, to ban gender transitions for minors.
The bill also includes provisions allowing teachers to refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns and banning schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age.
Supporters argue that such measures aim to protect children from undergoing gender-affirming treatments that they may later regret as adults.
“We’re talking about removing healthy body parts that you cannot put back on,” said GOP State Sen. Lindsey Tichenor.
“I’ve seen the pictures. It’s horrifying.”
Mississippi’s Republican Governor Tate Reeves has also signed a bill into law that prohibits gender transitions or sexual reassignment surgery for anyone under 18.
Additionally, Republican governors in South Dakota and Utah have signed similar bans on transgender treatments this year.