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Florida Republicans’ New Bill Bans Girls From Talking About Menstruation

Pick a lane, Florida Republicans!

Students seen from above, studying at school desks.

Damn, Florida, make up your mind! In which way do you want to be dystopic and horrible? A new Republican anti-sex ed bill making its way through the Florida state legislature would ban elementary school girls from talking about their menstrual cycles in school. And am I crazy, or was it only a few short weeks ago that I was reading up on a proposed statewide mandate that female student-athletes in Florida would be required to give detailed information about their menses to the Florida High School Athletic Association? Thankfully, that mandate was shot down. But dear Floridian Republicans, as a group, you need to pick a side on how you want to control and humiliate little girls. You’re looking sloppy right now.

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The new bill in question, HB 1069, which seeks to prohibit any sex education or discussion around it before sixth grade in Florida schools, would also prohibit the 10-to-11-year old girls (or younger) who are getting their periods in fourth or fifth grade from talking about it, or even asking for help from a friend or teacher if they get it during class. And if an educator were to explain what was going on, or give aide to a student who asked for help, that teacher or school nurse would be breaking the law. To which I say I absolutely hate this, and I’m very mad. 

Republican Rep. Stan McClain, the sponsor of the bill, replied to questioning during a hearing on Wednesday, saying that it wasn’t his intent that the bill would ban young students from asking for help when getting their periods. It seems like another case of a dude not knowing what he’s talking about writing laws about women’s and girls’ bodies. On top of severely limiting the timing of sex education, the bill also restricts sex education to say, “sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth” and that “these reproductive roles are binary, stable, and unchangeable,” making it one hell of a kick in the teeth for LGBTQ rights. 

In a video of the hearing posted on Twitter by Florida Planned Parenthood Action, you can see Democratic Rep. Ashley Gantt asking, “Does this bill prohibit conversations about menstrual cycles―because we know that typically the ages is between 10 and 15―so if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth grade or fourth grade, will that prohibit conversations from them since they are in the grade lower than sixth grade?”

And McClain replies, “It would.”  Later in the hearing, McClain clarified that he would be open to amendments that would make it allowable for teachers to respond to queries for help regarding menstruation from children under sixth grade. 

The Florida House subcommittee passed the bill 13-5, and it’s on to the next stage.

(featured image: George Rudy/Shutterstock)

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Cammy Pedroja
Author and independent journalist since 2015. Frequent contributor of news and commentary on social justice, politics, culture, and lifestyle to publications including The Mary Sue, Newsweek, Business Insider, Slate, Women, USA Today, and Huffington Post. Lover of forests, poetry, books, champagne, and trashy TV.

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