In the coming weeks, members of the Florida Medical Association (FMA) House of Delegates will be asked to vote on controversial resolutions related to issues that include abortion and gender-affirming care.
The FMA House of Delegates is the legislative and business body of the FMA. Its members are the officers of the FMA, the elected members of the Board of Governors, and the delegates officially elected by the component societies, specialty societies, Specialty Society Section, Young Physicians Section, Medical Student Section, Resident & Fellow Section and the FMA Alliance.
The FMA sets policy by acting on recommendations from the Board of Governors and resolutions presented by component county medical societies, recognized specialty medical societies, special sections and delegates.
According to documents reviewed by The Florida Capital Star, the FMA’s House of Delegates will address two resolutions addressing gender-affirming care for transgender people and two different abortion resolutions for the House of Delegates to consider.
Submitted by the Emerald Coast Medical Association, one resolution would require the FMA to adopt Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo’s recommendation that social, medical and surgical transitioning treatment for gender dysphoria not be provided to children and adolescents.
Ladapo’s recommendation is not popular with Florida House Democrat and leading progressive Anna Eskamani.
In addition, the resolution would require the FMA to send a “letter to Gov. DeSantis, the FMA PAC endorsed gubernatorial candidate, thanking him for this important policy to protect children from predatory clinicians and social media trends in our state.”
In contrast, another resolution filed would have the FMA lend its support for gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-nonconforming youth and adolescents.
On the abortion issue, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District XII, the Broward County Medical Association, and the Florida Society of Ophthalmology are pushing a resolution that would express support for abortion rights.
That resolution would require the FMA to “support efforts by other medical societies to oppose actions by the Florida Legislature, now and in the future, to block abortion services, including but not limited to cases of rape, incest, or risk to the life of the pregnant person, to criminalize such pregnancy termination against the pregnant person and or physician, and to interfere with the professional relationship between a physician and patient, the expertise and medical judgment of said physician, and the autonomy and justice of said patient.”
Conversely, physician Diane T. Gowski supports a resolution to require the FMA to “support pro-life legislation to work toward banning the practice of abortion in the state of Florida.” The resolution notes that “abortion is not health care but the killing of unborn children.”
Jacksonville healthcare lawyer Chris Nuland told Florida Politics that while the FMA House of Delegates has taken positions on high-profile issues in the past, he doesn’t recall a time when delegates have been hit with so many conflicting resolutions as this year.
“There are opposing political ideologies that are competing against each other this year, and it’s fascinating,” Nuland said.
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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star.
Photo “Doctor and Patient” by Gustavo Fring.