Governor Signs Medical Reform Bills to "Ensure that Medical Authoritarianism Does Not Take Root in Florida"
Florida - Friday May 12, 2023: Governor DeSantis Thursday signed four pieces of legislation that he said will protect Floridians from medical mandates, empower doctors, and prohibit 'Gain-of-Function' research.
The Governor said the new laws will ensure no patient is forced to undergo testing, wear a mask, or be vaccinated for COVID-19; allow medical professionals the freedom to collaborate with patients in prescribing alternative treatments; protect physicians’ freedom of speech; and ban gain-of-function research.
Gain-of-Function research (GOFR) refers to the process of increasing the transmissibility or virulence of microorganisms. Some have speculated that the Covid-19 virus was the result of Gain-of-Function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China.
The Governor said “these expanded protections will help ensure that medical authoritarianism does not take root in Florida." The new laws also codify permanent COVID-19 protections in the state.
Senate Bill 252 – Most Comprehensive Medical Freedom Bill in the Nation:
• Prohibiting business and governmental entities from requiring individuals to provide proof of vaccination or post-infection recovery from any disease to gain access to, entry upon, or service from such entities.
• Prohibiting employers from refusing employment to or discharging, disciplining, demoting, or otherwise discriminating against an individual solely on the basis of vaccination or immunity status.
• Prevents discrimination against Floridians related to COVID-19 vaccination or immunity status, etc.
House Bill 1387 – Banning Gain of Function Research:
• Prohibiting “gain of function” research, also known as enhanced potential pandemic pathogen research.
Senate Bill 1580 – Physicians Freedom of Speech:
• Providing that health care providers and health care payors have the right to opt out of participation in or payment for certain health care services on the basis of conscience-based objections.
• Providing requirements for a health care provider’s notice and documentation of such objection.
• Providing whistle-blower protections for health care providers and health care payors that take certain actions or disclose certain information relating to the reporting of certain violations.
• Prohibiting boards, or the Department of Health if there is no board, from taking disciplinary action against or denying a license to an individual based solely on specified conduct, etc.
Senate Bill 238 – Public Records/Protection from Discrimination Based on Health Care Choices
• Providing an exemption from public records requirements for certain information relating to complaints or investigations regarding violations of provisions protecting from discrimination based on health care choices.