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DESTIN, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a quartet of new medical freedom laws Thursday, reinforcing actions he has already taken against COVID-19 mandates and safeguarding access to alternative treatments from the preferences of the medical establishment. 

The legislation forbids private businesses and public entities alike from requiring proof of vaccination or recovery from any disease, forbids discrimination on the basis of vaccination or immunity status, exempts from public records requests information about a patient being discriminated against on the basis of health decisions, creates opt-outs for participation in and/or payment for service to which one has a conscience objection, establishes whistleblower protections for healthcare workers to report wrongdoing, and forbids action from being taken against doctors solely for dissenting from the opinions of the medical establishment.

“Our early actions during the pandemic protected Floridians and their freedoms,” DeSantis said. “We protected the rights of Floridians to make decisions for themselves and their children and rejected COVID theater, narratives, and hysteria in favor of truth and data. These expanded protections will help ensure that medical authoritarianism does not take root in Florida.”

“Governor DeSantis has been a pinnacle for freedom, and today we advance the cause of public health and individual autonomy in medical decisions,” added Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a vocal critic of the COVID establishment. “From empowering patients to safeguarding children in schools, Florida continues to enshrine individual liberty and lead with common sense.”

The new measures are among the latest in DeSantis’s proactive conservative record which has generated substantial interest in him for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. The governor has not yet announced his candidacy, but is expected to in the coming weeks, having just concluded an ambitious legislative session featuring conservative legislation on abortion, crime, transgenderism education, and more.

One of the biggest distinctions of that record has been the governor’s leadership in the COVID pandemic. While like all governors he temporarily followed the Trump administration’s guidances and issued some restrictions (for which he later expressed regret), as more information came in he reversed course, quickly establishing one of the most anti-lockdown records in the country, defying insistence that his policies would lead to mass death. He took action to stop school closings, vaccine passports, mask mandates, and local lockdowns; pardon residents persecuted by rogue localities; sue the Biden administration over its ban on the cruise ship industry; and embrace therapeutics such as hydroxychloroquine.

As a result, Florida was spared much of the economic devastation that hit states who embraced lockdowns, with even some in the mainstream media eventually forced to admit that the more restrictive policies of states like California failed to produce better COVID outcomes, while others tried unsuccessfully to promote a conspiracy theory about Florida’s numbers being fraudulent to explain them away.

DeSantis was an early supporter of the controversial COVID-19 vaccines developed and released by the Trump administration, although as more information has come to light about their dangers his position has changed accordingly. For more than a year, DeSantis and Ladapo have spoken about the ineffectiveness of the shots, and in recent months his administration has conducted its own study, which concluded that they should not be taken by young men, and pushed for a grand jury investigation into the manufacturers.

Former President Donald Trump currently leads national polls for the GOP nomination by a substantial margin, though DeSantis enjoys a fundraising advantage and remains competitive in state polls. Both Trump and DeSantis currently lead Biden in national head-to-head matchups (DeSantis by a slightly wider margin), though a number of polls show Biden beating Trump but losing to DeSantis in swing states.