The Republican told Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday that he would sign the legislation if it came across his desk.
He made the comments just a week after he signed into law a ban on transgender women from participating in female sports.
‘I’m very much opposed to chemical castration of minors, I honestly didn’t know this existed until a few years ago,’ DeSantis told Daily Caller on Monday.
‘That would be something I would sign for sure,’ he said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would ‘for sure’ sign into law any bill that would ban transgender surgeries for minors
The only state that has so far signed into law a ban on transgender surgery for minors is Arkansas.
The state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a measure prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care, such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy, and prevents them from referring minors to other providers.
Major medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, opposed the bill, which transgender advocates say could have severe negative effects on trans youths in the state.
Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that the Legislature ‘has ignored dozens of local doctors and national medical experts, as well as trans youth and their parents.’
‘This bill will drive families, doctors and businesses out of the state and send a terrible and heartbreaking message to the transgender young people who are watching in fear,’ Strangio said.
‘Gender-affirming care is life-saving care and banning that care will have devastating and in some cases deadly consequences. Trans youth in Arkansas: We will continue to fight for you.’
Echoing concerns of major medical associations, Dr. Michele Hutchison – who runs a transgender medicine clinic at Arkansas Children’s hospital – says the ban in her state is raising the risk of suicide among some of her patients and forcing some families to wonder if they should move to another state.
A pro-LGBTQ rights activist holds up a flag during a protest in New York City in October 2018
Arkansas’ Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed the legislation, but state lawmakers overturned the veto.
The override, which needed only a simple majorities, passed easily in both chambers; the House voted 72-25 in favor, and the Senate voted 25-8.
In taking a stand against his party, Hutchinson said the legislation was ‘a vast government overreach.’
Unless opponents are successful in blocking it with a lawsuit, Arkansas’ ban will take effect late this summer.
Supporters of the ban have said transgender youth should wait until they’re 18 to make such decisions.
Some compared the prohibition to other ones minors face, such as for smoking or drinking.
Multiple medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, oppose the bans and experts say the treatments are safe if properly administered.
Puberty blockers, which delay the physical changes caused by puberty, are considered reversible.
Hormone therapy, which can help transgender people match their bodies with their gender identity, can have outcomes that are more permanent, such as enabling transgender men to have facial hair and a deeper voice.
DeSantis, whose rising national profile has sparked speculation he could run for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, defended his decision to ban transgender women from female sports.
‘It’s discrimination against our women athletes to force them to participate against male athletes,’ he said on Monday.
‘It needs to be a level playing field, and it needs to be fair, and it should all be based on biology, not based on ideology.’
Earlier this year, Arkansas became the first state to ban transgender treatments for those under the age of 18. The Republican-dominated Arkansas state legislature (seen in the above January 12 file photo in Little Rock) passed a measure that would ban doctors from providing certain types of hormonal treatments to transgender teens under the age of 18
Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson (pictured) vetoed the legislation, but the legislature voted to override the veto
Last week, DeSantis told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that he would not be deterred by ‘woke corporations’ from signing into law the ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.’
The governor’s comments came after the NCAA warned it would ‘closely monitor’ college sports to ensure transgender athletes can compete, and threatened to block its tournaments from being hosted in states that enacted such bills.
‘I remember the NCAA putting out a statement that said any state that enacts this, we’re not going to hold events there. And so I called the Speaker of the House in Florida and said, “Did you hear what they said?”
‘He said, “Well, we definitely got to get this done”,’ DeSantis said.
‘You can’t be cowed by these organizations but particularly by woke corporations from doing the right thing. So my view was throughout this whole time was we have to protect our girls. It is discriminatory to force them to compete against biological males.’
DeSantis – a key Trump ally and prospective 2024 presidential candidate – added: ‘The price of having a tournament is I have to deny equal opportunity to hundreds of thousands of young girl and women athletes throughout Florida ‘ I am much more willing to stand with the girls and to hell with these events.’
Hutchinson signed a similar measure into law weeks before the Arkansas state legislature voted to ban transgender surgeries for youth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 2 percent of high school students identify as transgender.
That means there’s a rough estimate of more than 1.3 million young people below the age of 18 who identify as transgender, according to the Movement Advancement Project.