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'Mutilation': DeSantis backs bill that would imprison doctors for performing gender transition surgery on minors

Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Image

Florida's legislature passed a bill Thursday which would punish doctors who perform gender transition surgeries and related procedures on minors, Politico reported.

"If you have a minor child, you should not be doing sex-change operations. You should not be doing puberty blockers. That is wrong, and we’re glad that we put a stop to that in the state of Florida," Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said during a press conference Friday.

"It's wrong to be sexualizing these kids. It's wrong to have gender ideology and telling kids that they may have been born in the wrong body. So we're on the right side of that," DeSantis also said.

DeSantis, who requested the bill and is expected to sign it, was characteristically blunt when addressing a reporter's question on the thorny topic.

"People in your industry will dress it up with a euphemism and say that it's health care to cut off the private parts of a 14- or 15-year-old," DeSantis began.

"That is not health care. That is mutilation," he said, gesturing for emphasis.

"When we're standing up against that, we're protecting these kids," he said, to applause.

The bill codifies measures undertaken by Florida's Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine addressing gender-transitioning for minors. It also also prohibits adults from being prescribed the same sort of controversial procdures via telemedicine and stops state funds being used to cover the costs, the New York Times reported.

An earlier version of Florida's SB 254 was aimed to stop private insurance companies from funding the controversial procedures for anyone and also sought to nix changes to gender on birth certificates, according to Politico. Neither of those provisions made it into the final bill.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Randy Fine (R), told the outlet those provisions may yet come to pass in future legislative sessions.

In the same press conference, DeSantis went on to detail how Chloe Cole and others who underwent gender transition procedures as children are now bravely speaking up to warn others that it was the "biggest regret of their lives," and that they felt manipulated.

"People go through a lot when they are teenagers. You grow out of it ... 80, 90% are resolved by the time you get there," DeSantis said.

He then laid out some of the procedures the legislation prohibits, including double mastectomies on physically healthy female children.

If Governor DeSantis signs the bill, Florida will join at least 13 other states that have recently limited the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and gender transition surgeries for minors, the New York Times reported.

Watch the complete press conference with Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) below. One section addressing gender transition procedures for minors begins 37:55.

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