Email insights: In ‘DeSantis Country,’ female athletes report their menstruation history to the state

Florida Politics | By A.G. Gancarski | October 6, 2022

‘Handing over teenagers’ menstrual history to a third-party software company is flat-out dangerous.’

The Florida Democratic Party is taking issue with reporting that Florida schools require female athletes to report on their periods, pegging the practice to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The email, titled, “DeSantis Country: Florida requires female student-athletes to report their menstrual history,” contends that fears are mounting “that period tracking data that Florida schools require student-athletes to submit could be subpoenaed and used as evidence against women and girls to further restrict their reproductive freedoms.”

That data, sourced to a third-party vendor, alarmed a spokesperson for the Florida Democrats.

“Ron DeSantis has already signed an extreme abortion ban in Florida that includes no exceptions for victims of rape and incest, and his administration wants to go even further by scrapping Florida’s right to privacy. Handing over teenagers’ menstrual history to a third-party software company in Ron DeSantis’ Florida is flat-out dangerous,” said FDP spox Travis Reuther.

The Democratic response comes in the wake of a blockbuster story in The Florida Times-Union and other Gannett papers that introduced readers to what has become established practice in Florida schools.

“But all female athletes in the state also are asked to report their history of menstrual periods: When they got their first period, how many weeks pass between periods and when they had their last one, to name a few. 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,” the piece from Katherine Kokal noted.

These had exclusively been hard copy forms, but increasingly business is being routed to a new vendor called Aktivate, raising concerns.

Democrats link this reportage to other incursions on women’s rights.

Abortion and reproductive rights are on the ballot, contend Democrats, in the wake of the blockbuster Dobbs decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that removed federal protections for reproductive rights that had been said to be settled law after 1973’s Roe v. Wade. Florida’s new law bans abortion after the 15th week of gestation.

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