DeSantis Approves The “Let Them Die” Act

By Taylor Rice

On May 11, 2023, Florida’s Republican Senator, Ron DeSantis, signed Senate Bill 1580 into law; legalizing medical discrimination. 

The “Protections of Medical Conscience” bill, dubbed the “Let Them Die Act” by critics, allows health care providers and for profit insurers within the state of Florida to deny service on the basis of “a conscience based objection”. According to TruthOut, this includes “ethical, moral, or religious beliefs. The law does not require health care providers and insurers who deny patients care to refer them to another provider.” 

DeSantis has single handedly helped destroy legal and medical protections for Queer U.S. citizens. This newest bill further encourages this anti-LGBTQ+ behavior. 

The bill is incredibly vague. The concept of “Conscientious based-objection” is complex, and the wording can specifically refuse the medical treatment of trans-individuals; the main LGBTQ+ group that has been under fire in the “Sunshine State.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has criticized the bill. They note, “The bill allows providers to refuse to provide ‘healthcare service’, broadly defined as including, but not limited to, medical research, medical procedures, testing, diagnosis, referral, dispensing medications, therapy, recordkeeping, and ‘any other care or service.’” 

According to ScreenShot, “The situation has escalated to such a point that human rights group, Equality Florida, has begun issuing travel advice to any LGBTQ+ individuals planning on going to Southern state.”

Brandon Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida, told the Pensacola News Journal, “This puts patients in harm’s way, is antithetical to the job of healthcare providers, and puts the most vulnerable Floridians in danger.” This law does not just encourage discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community in Florida, but other minorities. The vague wording of the bill allows medical professionals to deny care to an unwed mother delivering a baby, or a young girl looking to get a check up because she’s wearing a hijab. This would be allowed since this falls under the health care provider’s “morals,” “belief” and “religion”. 

Senate Bill 1580 is also directly undermining the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic Oath is an oath that new physicians need to swear. Within the Oath it states, “With special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.” The Hippocratic Oath states that medical professionals need to be prepared to help everyone equally; while the Bill states the exact opposite. 

The “Let Them Die Act” is a horrid, thinly veiled, attack on the LGBTQ+ community and other minorities. The new law is setting the stage for even larger acts of discrimination than we’ve already seen, and the laws attacking the LGBTQ+ community don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. 

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