Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida reportedly signed a new package of “medical freedom” provisions into law on Thursday in an effort to counter the COVID-19 public health emergency that was ready to expire.
These measures include restrictions on mask and vaccination requirements as well as new conscience rights for medical professionals.
No patient will be required by a company, institution of higher learning, or governmental body to submit to COVID-19 testing, wear a mask, or receive a vaccination as a result of the historic legislation package aimed against COVID-19 rules.
“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.” Governor DeSantis said in a statement.
The Act also grants doctors the flexibility to recommend alternative therapies and safeguards their right to refuse treatment if it conflicts with their moral, ethical, or religious convictions.
The governor’s administration claims that Florida is the first state to outlaw risky and uncontrolled gain-of-function research.
Republican strategists claim that DeSantis’ comments will be heard by suburban voters who are still furious at actions like school closings in the general election, outside of the conservative base.