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TALLAHASSEE (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge has rejected a left-wing request to block new Florida regulations denying Medicaid funds to cover chemical and surgical “transition” procedures, in the latest win for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In June, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) issued a report determining that Florida’s $36 billion Medicaid program should not include coverage for practices such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or “sex-change” surgeries, on the grounds that they have not been proven safe or effective to treat gender dysphoria, a disorder that involves feelings of distress about one’s sex, and do not meet generally accepted professional medical standards (GAPMS), a requirement for Medicaid eligibility. 

The agency announced at the time that it would “initiate the rulemaking process regarding the Medicaid program’s coverage treatments for gender dysphoria,” and instituted the new rules on August 21.

Opponents of the policy sued, and on Wednesday, Judge Robert Hinkle rejected their request for preliminary injunction, Fox News reports

“The kind of ‘extraordinary’ and ‘drastic’ relief that Plaintiffs seek is simply not warranted here,” Hinkle wrote. “The State of Florida has made a measured decision to exclude reimbursement under Medicaid for certain treatments for one medical condition because those treatments threaten to do more harm than good. Neither the law nor the facts provide a basis to undo that decision entrusted to the State.”

Florida AHCA deputy chief of staff Brock Juarez celebrated the ruling on social media:

Biological sex is rooted in an individual’s chromosomes and reflected by hundreds of genetic characteristics, and defying it in the name of subjective, fluid “gender identity” tends to carry significant physical and mental consequences.

Studies indicate that more than 80% of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence and that even full “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm and suicide, by reinforcing their confusion and neglecting the actual root causes of their mental strife.

On top of those issues, experts outside the medical establishment further warn that surgically or chemically reinforcing gender confusion imposes irreversible harm on children such as infertility, impairment of adult sexual function, and reduced life expectancy, as well as the psychological toll of being “locked into” physical alterations regardless of whether they change their minds when they mature, as attested to by many individuals who “detransitioned” back to their true sex.

The DeSantis administration’s strong stand against gender transitions has contributed to a reputation the governor has established as one of the most proactive and conservative leaders in America, generating interest in him as a possible candidate for president in 2024.