Florida parents and doctors revolt after student-athletes asked to report 'history of menstrual periods'

Florida parents and doctors revolt after student-athletes asked to report 'history of menstrual periods'
Image via Gage Skidmore.

In Florida schools, student athletes have to report a variety of health conditions — from allergies to fainting spells — if they sign up to play for the season. And if they are female athletes, according to Palm Beach Post reporter Katherine Kokal, they are “being asked” to report something else as well: their “history of menstrual periods.”

“The information is reported on athletes' annual physical form, which they are required to fill out with a physician and turn in to their school's athletic director,” Kokal explains. “The questions have been put to students across the state for two decades, most often on a written form on paper, but this fall, when some districts took the form to a digital platform kept by a third party, parents and doctors began raising red flags.”

Kokal adds, “Their concerns have been heightened both by a shifting political landscape criminalizing abortions and scrutinizing transgender athletes and the growing threat to medical privacy in a digital age. All of the forms — whether paper or digital — are subject to subpoena.”

READ MORE: How Roe's reversal has supercharged abortion rights activists: conservative

One Florida-based physician who finds this objectionable is Dr. Michael Haller, a pediatric endocrinologist and Gainesville resident. Haller told the Post, “I don’t see why (school districts) need that access to that type of information. It sure as hell will give me pause to fill it out with my kid.”

Kokal notes that “abortion rights advocates who stress reproductive privacy in the wake of the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade worry that women's menstrual history may be used to prosecute them if they terminate a pregnancy.”

Privacy concerns in Florida schools were addressed during a testy school board meeting in mid-August. Parents, The Recount noted, “erupted with outrage over the invasion of privacy.”

Haller told the Post, “I think we're all on edge right now.”

READ MORE: 'A massive miscalculation': Lindsey Graham's proposed abortion ban ignites the political spectrum

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