Florida Republicans bill bans girls from talking about their periods at school


As Florida Republicans introduce and push forward a flurry of gender and diversity bills likely to be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a GOP lawmaker this week acknowledged that his gender and diversity bill sexual health would prohibit girls from talking about their menstrual cycles at school.

At a Florida House Education Quality Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, State Rep. Ashley Gantt (D) asked fellow Republican Rep. Stan McClain about her bill that would restrict certain educational materials used in public schools, which Democrats and critics have likened to banning the books. House Bill 1069 would also require that instruction on sexual health, such as health education, sexually transmitted diseases, and human sexuality, “only occur in grades 6 through 12,” which prompted Gantt to ask whether the proposed legislation would ban young girls from talking about their periods in school when they start having them.

“So if little girls know their menstrual cycle in fifth or fourth grade, will that ban conversations for them since they’re in the lower grade than sixth grade?” Gantt asked.

McClain replied, “It would.”

The GOP lawmaker representing Ocala, Fla. later clarified that the bill “would not be intended” to punish girls if they approached teachers with questions or concerns about their menstrual cycle, adding that he would be “receptive” to amendments should they be tabled. The bill ended up passing, 13-5, Wednesday in a party vote, as GOP lawmakers constitute a supermajority in the chamber.

McClain did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Friday. Gantt denounced the bill to the Washington Post as “blatant.”

“I thought it was quite remarkable that the start of a baby girl’s menstrual cycle was not considered when this bill was drafted,” she said on Friday.

Gantt has been taken over by supporters like Annie Filkowski, political and political director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, who told the Post that “young Floridians will suffer if this legislation becomes law.”

“This bill shines a light on Florida’s political leaders’ perpetual thirst for power and control,” Filkowski said in a statement, adding that it was “ridiculous” to ban young girls from discussing menstruation with their parents. teachers.

McClain’s proposed legislation is one of a series of new Republican-sponsored bills that could reshape elementary and higher education in Florida. Bills introduced by state officials and GOP senators in recent weeks range from requiring teachers to use pronouns that match the sex of children assigned at birth to establishing a universal voucher program for school choice. Other proposed legislation would eliminate college majors in gender studies, reduce diversity efforts at universities and job protections for tenured professors, strengthen the ability for parents to veto K-12 class materials, and expand the ban on teaching about gender and sexuality – from third grade until eighth grade.

Florida bills would ban gender studies, limit trans pronouns and erode mandate

Democrats, free speech advocates and LGBTQ groups say the Republican bills would limit educators’ ability to honestly instruct children.

Even with the blowback, Florida Republicans on Monday introduced two bills that would ban gender-affirming care for minors and eliminate diversity programs in colleges. Another proposal was put forward on Tuesday that would ban classroom lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation until eighth grade. The expansion of the controversial bill, which critics have called “Don’t Say Gay”, has vocal support from DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024.

Menarche, when girls start menstruating, usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 16, according to the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Doctors, parents and studies around the world have reported an increase in cases of precocious puberty in girls during the pandemic, with some girls menstruating as young as 8 years old.

Cases of precocious puberty in girls have increased during covid, doctors say

Preventing girls from talking about their period at school isn’t the only part of McClain’s bill, which was introduced last month. The bill asks schools to teach how “sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth” and “these reproductive roles are binary, stable and unchanging.” Part of the proposed legislation would require the Florida Department of Education to approve all educational materials used in the area of ​​sexual health. It would also give parents the right to limit the types of library books their children can borrow.

On Wednesday, Gantt denounced McClain’s bill and the limits on educational materials children can access as a form of “book ban” that would undermine student education, according to the News Service of Florida.

“I hope we all understand that we are taking away from our children the ability to be critical thinkers, telling them that we want to protect their innocence,” Gantt, who represents Miami, said during the hearing. “They’re going to be adults one day, and they need to be informed adults.”

McClain refuted the allegations and criticisms of the bill, saying “a lot of the stuff that was put forward was misinformation.”

“This idea that the book ban is happening, and all of that, is a myth and it’s not true,” McClain said. “Members, what we’re trying to do is make sure our parents continue to have the opportunity to know what material is being used to instruct (their children) and have the ability to challenge that.”

Bill then heads to the State House floor. If it passes the Republican-controlled chamber, it still has to pass through the state Senate before likely being signed into law by DeSantis.

It’s unclear whether changes will be made to the bill to allow young girls to talk about their periods in school, Gantt told the Post. She again criticized the bill for not preparing children to eventually become informed adults.

“We don’t get to do it again with the kids, we don’t have that opportunity anymore,” she said. “So why are we implementing or proposing policies to prevent little girls from understanding their bodies? »

Hannah Natanson, Lori Rozsa and Susan Svrluga contributed to this report.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button