Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Excuse me, this might be none of your business

 Excuse me, this might be none of your business


Schools regularly ask students to provide health information.   Has a child had the required vaccinations?   Has the child had certain childhood diseases?  But this time it appears that Florida has gone too far, even for a governor who is hot to go as far right as he can.

Physicians often ask girls about their menstrual cycles for a variety of health care reasons.  The Florida High School Athletic Association was requiring that the information be provided directly to schools rather than to health care providers if girls were going to compete in athletics.  The information the Athletic Association wanted schools to have included if the student menstruated, the age of the first cycle, date of the most recent cycle and how many cycles the girl had had in the past year.  Not surprisingly, anger erupted over this intrusion into the girl’s privacy requesting information that should stay with the medical provider.  Florida Democratic lawmakers called it “highly invasive” and the president of the American Federation of Teachers called it “dystopian”.  Hundreds of people went online to sign a Change.org petition called, “Privacy. Period”.   The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended making menstrual histories important but t has insisted it does not intend for these histories to be provided to schools.

The crux of the matter is the political goal of keeping transgender athletes from competing in athletics.   As a core political tenet, the Governor has signed into law bills that prevent such participation.  After nationwide opposition and bad press, The Florida High School Athletic Association has backed off its request.  However, it has changed its medical history form from just asking for “sex”; it is requesting “sex assigned at birth”.

The intrusion into students’ – make that girls- privacy apparently has proved too much even for Florida lawmaker standards.   Amid the backlash, the Association shifted course and voted recently that the more personal information should stay in the physicians office.  Apparently Florida has never heard of HIPPA, a federal law that requires the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge.  Remember the old days when conservative politics meant keeping government out of our lives?  Well just maybe some things are none of the government’s business.

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