“It’s ridiculous”: Florida GOP bill would ban young girls from mentioning their periods in school

GOP author admits bill would bar girls from discussing menstruation but insists that's not the "intent"

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published March 17, 2023 12:35PM (EDT)

State Rep. Stan McClain (R) (Florida House of Representatives)
State Rep. Stan McClain (R) (Florida House of Representatives)

A Florida Republican admitted that his bill would ban young girls from discussing menstruation with school officials but claimed it wasn't the "intent" of his legislation.

Republican state Rep. Stan McClain introduced House Bill 1069, which would restrict education materials in schools, require schools to teach the "benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage," and require educators to teach that "sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth …and that these reproductive roles are binary, stable, and unchangeable."

The bill also says that "instruction in acquired immune deficiency syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, or health education, when such instruction and course material contains instruction in human sexuality, such instruction may only occur in grades 6 through 12."

Democratic state Rep. Ashley Viola Gantt pressed McClain over the bill during a House Education Equality Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, questioning whether it would effectively ban girls below sixth grade from discussing their periods in school.

"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?" Gantt asked the Republican.

"It would," McClain acknowledged.

Gantt pressed McClain on whether teachers could be punished if their students mention their periods to them.

McClain said that "would not be the intent of the bill" and added that he would be "amenable" to amendments to prevent such scenarios.

The Republican-dominated subcommittee ultimately advanced the bill 13-5 on Wednesday, according to HuffPost.

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"This bill shines a bright light on Florida's political leaders' perpetual thirst for power and control," Annie Filkowski, policy and political director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, told the outlet in a statement.

"They are restricting sex education, banning abortion, defunding birth control, and now going so far as to admit that young women cannot discuss menstruation under their absurd legislation," she said. "Young people start menstruation anytime between nine and 16 years old. It's ridiculous to prohibit them from discussing it with their teacher."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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