Before being allowed to compete, schoolgirls in Florida are asked about their menstrual histories — and as that data increasingly moves to digital platforms, parents and doctors are presenting expressed some serious concerns about this practice.
Asking questions like when students had their first period and when they had their last period is nothing new in Florida. It’s been a question that’s been going on for two decades, and it’s optional.
Historically, however, that has been done on paper forms. This fall, several counties (including Palm Beach, Broward, Hillsborough and Sarasota counties) will transition to a third-party digital platform. And in the post-Roe world, that worries many people.
“I don’t understand why (school districts) need access to that kind of information,” said Dr. Michael Haller, a pediatric endocrinologist based in Gainesville. told The Palm Beach Post. “Definitely like hell would make me pause to fill it with my kids.”
In the past, pediatricians said, the last page on a three-page physical assessment form was the most important. That’s where the doctor announces whether the athlete is allowed to participate (and lists any precautions or restrictions). Doctors who work with the Palm Beach school district say it’s the only page that should be shared with the school district. And that’s how it happens in other states, but in Florida, all the medical data goes to schools.
Abortion rights advocates have raised alarm about tracking a woman’s menstrual history since the Supreme Court reverse Roe v. Wade. And sensitive information about minors will be kept by a software company that’s been around for just over a year. (Aktivatewas founded by former AOL CEO and News Corp. executive Jon Miller, will store the data. The company was founded last September.)
Aktivate says all student information will be kept confidential. However, critics note that because the company is not run by a healthcare provider, it is not protected by HIPAA law, so it could be forced to turn data back to state. if subpoenaed.
And the Palm Beach County School District maintains fully submitted medical packages for seven years.
Abortion is illegal in Florida after 15 weeks of gestation. And the state has also follow these steps This year banned therapy for transgender minors, another group that may be affected by questions about menstruation.
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