Young Student Athletes in Florida may be Required to Report their Menstruation History

Young Student Athletes in Florida may be Required to Report their Menstruation History
Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplash
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The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sparked controversy with its recommendation to require young female student-athletes to complete a mandatory digital registration form that asks detailed questions about their menstrual history.

After an outpour of concern and outrage from parents, physicians, and Florida legislators, the association scheduled an emergency meeting to consider scrapping the controversial recommendations.

The FHSAA argued that the information may be helpful in case of emergency treatment for student athletes; however, the decision was met with vocal opposition from students, parents, and medical experts who counter-argued that this information should remain private and not be collected by schools. That the forms are also digital sparked major privacy concerns should that data ever be hacked or leaked.

For at least 20 years, high school athletes in Florida have been required to submit a registration form with a doctor’s note, but the questions related to menstrual health have always been optional. With the shift to a digital format, there is additional concern that the information could be used against students, particularly at a time when transgender rights and access to abortion are under consistent attack in the state.

Some activists argued that the proposed requirement to collect detailed menstruation data wasn’t about health at all, but instead just another way for the government to further attempt to control reproductive health, and monitor the reproductive cycles of women in the state.

There are fears that government officials may use the data to monitor students for irregular or skipped periods, which might suggest pregnancy or identify transgender students. This is particularly concerning given Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ track record of limiting women’s rights, including the ban on transgender women participating in women’s sports teams, the abortion ban beyond 15 weeks of gestation, and the prohibition of Medicaid funds for gender-affirming medical care.

The FHSAA's board of directors will convene their special meeting on February 9 to further evaluate removing any questions about menstrual history from the physical examination forms.

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