Florida’s DeSantis Signs Landmark Medical Freedom Bills, Protecting Individual Rights and Prohibiting Gain-of-Function Research

Originally published May 14, 2023 10:18 am PDT

In a significant move that positions Florida as a beacon for medical freedom in the United States, Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed four landmark pieces of legislation.

These bills are designed to safeguard residents from medical mandates, empower healthcare professionals, and prohibit controversial gain-of-function research, according to a press release.

Governor DeSantis stated during the signing, “Our early actions during the pandemic protected Floridians and their freedoms. We protected the rights of Floridians to make decisions for themselves and their children and rejected COVID theater, narratives, and hysteria in favor of truth and data. These expanded protections will help ensure that medical authoritarianism does not take root in Florida.”

The package includes Senate Bill 252, hailed as the “Most Comprehensive Medical Freedom Bill in the Nation.”

This bill prohibits both businesses and government entities from demanding proof of vaccination or post-infection recovery from any disease for individuals to access their services.

It also prevents employers from discriminating against individuals based on vaccination or immunity status.

In addition to this, the newly signed House Bill 1387 explicitly bans “gain of function” research, also known as enhanced potential pandemic pathogen research.

This is a form of research that can make pathogens more infectious or deadly, which has been linked to the Wuhan lab where some believe the COVID-19 pandemic may have started.

Senate Bill 1580, also part of this legislative package, seeks to protect physicians’ freedom of speech.

It provides healthcare providers and payors the right to opt out of participation in or payment for certain healthcare services on the basis of conscience-based objections.

It also offers whistle-blower protections for those reporting certain violations.

Completing the package is Senate Bill 238, which provides an exemption from public records requirements for certain information relating to complaints or investigations regarding violations of provisions protecting from discrimination based on health care choices.

State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo also expressed his support, stating, “Governor DeSantis has been a pinnacle for freedom, and today we advance the cause of public health and individual autonomy in medical decisions. From empowering patients to safeguarding children in schools, Florida continues to enshrine individual liberty and lead with common sense.”

These legislative actions underscore Governor DeSantis’ ongoing commitment to securing medical freedoms in Florida, marking a significant development in the ongoing debates around public health policy and individual rights in the United States.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) has renewed a $2.3 million taxpayer-funded grant to EcoHealth Alliance for research on bat coronaviruses.

The non-profit organization, led by British zoologist Peter Daszak, was at the center of the COVID-19 lab leak theory when former President Donald Trump suspended the grant in April 2020.

The grant was initially terminated after it was discovered that NIH had funneled U.S. taxpayer dollars through EcoHealth to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

The WIV is known for conducting gain-of-function research, a process that involves the intentional alteration of viruses to make them more infectious or deadly.