Governor DeSantis signs four bills regarding medical freedom in Florida

DeSantis In Destin
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 12:54 PM CDT
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DESTIN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Destin Thursday morning.

During the conference, the governor signed multiple pieces of legislation into law.

The Governor stated this legislative package is protecting Floridians from medical mandates, empowering doctors, and prohibiting dangerous gain of function research.

The legislative package includes Senate Bill 252, which is prohibiting business and government 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.

The bill also prohibits employers from refusing employment to or discharging, disciplining, demoting, or otherwise discriminating against an individual solely on the basis of vaccination or immunity status.

Also, the Governor said that SB 252, prevents discrimination against Floridians related to COVID-19 vaccination or immunity status, etc.

The second piece of legislation Governor DeSantis signed is House Bill 1387, which is banning Gain of Function Research in the state.

The governor says it is dangerous research that artificially mutates viruses.

The third bill the governor signed on Thursday is Senate Bill 1580, which is what DeSantis is calling the Physician’s Freedom of Speech.

According to SB 1580, the new law will provide healthcare providers and healthcare payors the right to opt out of participation in or payment for certain healthcare services on the basis of conscience-based objections.

”It ensures freedom of speech for physicians,” Governor DeSantis said. “It ensures that physicians can follow the data, not dictates. We want our physicians to practice evidence-based medicine. We don’t want it to just defer to authority or to just follow the heard so that is now law in the state of Florida.”

The bill is also providing requirements for a health care provider’s notice and documentation of such objection.

In addition, SB 1580 has whistle-blower protections for healthcare providers and healthcare payors that take certain actions or disclose certain information relating to the reporting of certain violations.

The governor also said SB 1580 prohibits 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.

That includes doctors deciding not to perform certain services, based on moral, ethical or religious beliefs.

Opponents of the law say this allows the denial of healthcare to the transgender community.

Finally, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 238, which he said will be 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.