2023 Florida Legislature

The following statement was approved by a majority of the Board of Advisors.

The Florida Bioethics Network (FBN) was founded 32 years ago on the concept that sound scientific medical evidence – peer-reviewed medical literature – guided by ethical principles should be at the core of any health-related public policy. This view is uncontroversial and has been widely accepted by health care professionals.

Uninformed personal opinions, political agendas, and non-fact based motivations should play no role in public health policies and laws.

Health-care decisions are intensely personal and private. Opening these decisions to public scrutiny and disapproval will forever damage the standard that patients ought and can have a confidential and trusting relationship with their health-care provider, and can make those decisions in the context of what they believe is best for themselves and their families. Such a position allows ample room for moral disagreement and advocacy. It provides no room for government overreach.

For these reasons, the FBN Advisory Board finds that recent Florida legislation concerning abortion and gender-affirming care for minors is incompatible with evidence-based, ethical professional practice. Though such legislation might aim to protect vulnerable minors, restrictive laws instead undermine the basic goals of health-related public policy. They further erode patients’ rights to discuss and determine their own health-care decisions protected by the privacy of the physician-patient relationship.

August 2023 


Many who are committed to the welfare of vulnerable minors and the foundational principles of evidence-based, ethical professional practice, also see that certain laws that some might deem restrictive actually advance the principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice.

The wisdom of limiting the opportunity for minors to make certain decisions can stand without factoring in whatever moral value is placed on the particular practice, protocol or procedure. This wisdom led our culture to enact laws that prohibit or restrict minors from buying alcohol, cigarettes or firearms, enlisting in the military, voting, avoiding grade school, and driving an automobile.

The desire to prohibit minors from receiving gender-affirming medical procedures, may have nothing to do with bigotry, religious fervor, or an ignorance of gender dysphoria. Instead, it can come from the realization that prepubescent children are still developing physically, psychologically and socially and need adult/parental guidance. For many who believe this way, government overreach would include facilitating a minor’s opportunity to procure an irreversible and elective medical procedure.

Rev. David Anderson, DBS