Update on Boards of Medicine forced consent forms and class action by trans adults against SB 254

The Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy’s Joint Rules/Legislative Committee met on August 3 to consider changes to the emergency rule “informed consent” forms before enacting them as a permanent rule.

Archive video of the meeting: 8/3/23 Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee

  • The Joint Administrative Procedures Committee sent a letter to the Boards on July 21 questioning whether they exceeded their statutory authority in requiring trans adults to see a psychologist or psychiatrist before starting HRT and every two years thereafter.
  • In response, the Boards indicated that they would ultimately remove the requirement for mental health evaluations for trans adults.
  • However, the Boards decided to postpone finalizing a permanent rule until this October or December.

A recent motion for a preliminary injunction against SB 254’s adult transgender care restrictions, if successful, could eliminate the mandated use of these forms entirely.

Read more from Southern Legal Counsel: Transgender Floridians Seek Emergency Block on Adult Healthcare Restrictions in SB 254

  • The third amended complaint in Doe v. Ladapo adds new challenges to section 5 of SB 254, subsections 2 through 5.
  • This complaint challenges the ban on nurse practitioners prescribing hormone therapy as part of gender-affirming care, the requirement for physicians to use the Boards’ approved “informed consent” forms, and the requirement for an in-person appointment for initial prescriptions.
  • An additional motion seeks to certify all transgender minors and adults in Florida as a class (within one of three classes), and requests classwide injunctive relief. Were this injunction granted, nurse practitioners and physicians, including telehealth providers, would again be able to prescribe HRT for gender-affirming care without being subject to any of the restrictions introduced by SB 254.

What happens now? 

  • The joint scheduling report of the parties in Doe v. Ladapo sets deadlines of August 7 for Florida to challenge the motion for a preliminary injunction, and August 14 to challenge the motion for a class action certification. The dates for the hearings on these motions have yet to be determined by the court, meaning we do not know when a preliminary injunction might be granted.
  • The latest scheduling order (ECF No. 117) sets a date of November 13, 2023 for the trial to begin, and it is estimated to last two days. This is a bench trial, meaning the decision will be made by a judge alone, rather than a jury trial.
  • There will be another scheduling conference between the parties on August 10 (ECF No. 119).

We reiterate that this law is creating a continuously unacceptable situation that has jeopardized the health and safety of thousands of trans adults, for no reason whatsoever other than political interference in private medical decisions. Once again, SB 254 must be reversed immediately and the May 16, 2023 status quo must be completely restored.

“This law has got to be completely reversed. The science is on our side.”

—Joey Knoll, CEO and nurse practitioner at SPEKTRUM Health

Read more: How providers are navigating Florida’s new law restricting access to gender-affirming care

How you can help trans Floridians

  • We ask that you donate to any individual trans person in Florida who needs help, and provide direct assistance with transportation and associated costs.
  • SPEKTRUM Health is an NP-led nonprofit clinic providing gender-affirming primary care, serving 2,500 trans people affected by SB 254. Donations to SPEKTRUM Health’s Patient Assistance Fund are allocated directly to patient care, and will help SPEKTRUM continue to provide all other primary care and sexual health services to their trans patients during the legal challenges to SB 254.
  • Southern Legal Counsel is a legal nonprofit leading the challenges to SB 254 alongside NCLR, GLAD, and HRC. They won the Dekker v. Weida Medicaid exclusion case for trans Floridians. SLC is funded entirely by grants and donations, and your donation can help trans people continue to fight these unjust laws.

Trans Florida has fought these policies relentlessly every step of the way, because we will never accept the loss of our liberties as equal citizens. After a year of these attacks, we still haven’t gone away. We’re louder than ever. And we’re not going to stop until we take back what’s ours.