The Florida High School Athletic Association is considering making it mandatory for female athletes to report their menstrual periods — leading to fears that the association is monitoring girls for pregnancy or abortion, or trying to weed out transgender girls.
The FHSAA has included questions about periods on an annual physical health form filled out by student athletes for some time, but up to now answering the questions has been optional, and if students answered, that information stayed with their doctors. The questions include date of first period, date of most recent period, and length of time between periods, Florida TV station WTSP reports.
This week, an FHSAA committee recommended that they be made mandatory, according to The New Republic. The form will also be changed from paper to digital, and all the information on it will be transmitted to schools. Previously, just one page was sent to schools — the page on which a doctor affirmed that a student was healthy enough to participate in sports.
Whether to make the period questions mandatory will be on the agenda when the FHSAA board of directors meets in Gainesville at the end of February, a spokesperson for the group told WTSP.
That has sparked concerns among parents and activists. “It sure as hell will give me pause to fill it out with my kid,” Dr. Michael Haller, a pediatric endocrinologist and father of two teens, told The Palm Beach Post.
“Many parents and doctors are worried that schools will use the menstrual data to monitor students for late or missed periods, a possible sign of pregnancy, or to out transgender students by watching for girls who don’t get periods or boys who do,” The NewRepublic notes.
Florida in 2021 barred trans girls and women from competing on female school sports teams. Among other anti-LGBTQ+ actions, the state has enacted the “don’t say gay” law, restricting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. It has banned most gender-affirming care for minors and has banned Medicaid funding for this care for people of any age. It has also banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, as the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court has allowed states to ban or severely restrict the procedure.
Of the menstrual history questions, The New Republic observes, “School administrators say the information will stay private, but there’s no guarantee it will. It’s a terrifying glimpse of our dystopian post-Roe world.”