TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers are getting ready to subpoena two state medical groups, wanting to know why they support gender dysphoria treatments for minors. The Florida Psychiatric Society and the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics are to be targeted by the demand for information.
House Health Committee Chair Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, is behind the effort after getting tapped by House Speaker Paul Renner in a letter seeking an investigation on the issue.
"We want to understand if this was science-driven or politically driven," Fine said. "And, we suspect it was politically driven."
Fine is a controversial figure who is also backing a bill this year to codify a ban on gender dysphoria treatments for kids under 18. The Republican considers hormone therapies, puberty blockers and surgeries "child abuse." Fine said he wants to know if the two medical organizations under scrutiny have science on their side or if they've been "compromised by a radical gender ideology."
"If you really have robust backing, you wouldn't be hiding when people are asking," Fine said. "We're not the first people to ask and they're hiding and running and begging for these records to not be put out."
Nationally, there are at least 30 groups that have made public statements in support of the treatments. They include well-known names like the American Medical Association and Endocrine Society. The organizations consider the therapies beneficial, some say life-saving, and that they rarely include surgery.
"We're asking whether or not they've been compromised by a radical gender ideology?" asked House Minority Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa. "To me, that sounds like a conspiracy theory."
Driskell condemned the subpoenas during a press call Monday morning. She called them little more than a political witch hunt.
"We know that this is part of the nationwide GOP attack on the LGBTQ community," she said. "They're putting politics over the medical advice of experts across the country."
As for the two associations targeted, the Florida Psychiatric Society didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. FCAAP offered a brief statement.
"We have no comment at this time," Alicia E. Adams, the FCAAP's executive director, said. "Our Board will discuss how to respond if a subpoena is received."
After getting a party-line backing from the Health Committee Monday, Fine plans to return to the House Speaker for final approval on his subpoenas. The lawmaker estimated they'd be ready in 24 hours and said they'll have a response deadline of May 4, a day before this year's legislative session ends.
Democrats briefly tried to amend the subpoenas, attaching at least 10 groups opposed to gender dysphoria treatments. Members said it was important to hear from all voices involved. Republicans rejected the idea, believing many of the groups would speak to the committee without the need for a formal demand— others noted numerous national groups were outside the jurisdiction of the state.