Gov. DeSantis is reshaping Florida’s medical boards

The government Ron DeSantis he continues to make important medical boards a key part of his plan to limit gender-affirming care, especially for children.

And his latest nomination is fueling fire from critics who oppose the new nominees for continuing to advance a “transphobic” agenda.

DeSantis this week appointed two doctors to the Board of Medicine, both of whom have weighed in on the debate over the types of treatment given to children. The Board of Medicine agreed in November to change routine care rules to prevent doctors from performing sex-affirming surgery on anyone under 18 and from providing contraceptives and hormones to anyone under 18.

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DeSantis was nominated Gregory Coffmanpediatrician at Orlando Health Physician Associates, and Matthew Benson, pediatric endocrinologist at Nemours Children’s Health to Medical Board.

Coffman, who has been on the job for 28 years, in September sent comments to the Board — while it was considering its new rules — that said he was “deeply concerned” about gender-based care.

“I never had conversations with parents about their children’s gender until two to three years ago,” Coffman wrote. “This explosion of gender dysphoria just happened and it’s a community-driven problem. I know some kids really struggle with gender dysphoria, but for most, it goes away.”

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Coffman added that “giving a child the power to make a life-changing decision at such a young age is unfair.”

Benson, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, has raised questions about sex-affirming care, including signing an open letter saying contraceptive use should be limited to research.

“Without a lot of data, it’s hard to make a conclusion that we’re doing the right thing,” Benson told The New York Times in a November article about contraceptive use.

That letter, signed by Benson, was also signed by Monica Mortensena pediatric endocrinologist appointed by DeSantis to Board of Osteopathic Medicine in early December. The Board of Osteopathic Medicine also passed regulations related to gender-affirming sex care, although they did not cover all the restrictions accepted by the Board of Medicine.

A lawyer. Anna Eskamania Democrat from Orlando and an outspoken critic of the DeSantis administration’s push for gender-based care restrictions, told Florida Politics that “it seems like being a transphobe is a requirement” to be appointed to medical boards.

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“They’re both anti-trans guardians,” Eskamani said of Benson and Coffman. “We have legitimate health care issues to address as a state but these two new positions are available for one reason only.”

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