Farren Shannon is a second-year law student at American University Washington College of Law. She is a junior staffer on the American Business Law Review, and she graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia with a degree in Government.

In the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org.[1] and an uptick anti-trans sentiment, student athletes are at risk of losing their right to privacy.[2] The Florida state legislature is seeking to make it mandatory for athletes to report their menstruation cycle information to play sports.[3] Florida requires a physical examination for all athletes to play sports in high school, but the Florida state legislature is seeking to make it mandatory for athletes to report their menstruation cycle information to compete. While mandatory athletic physicals include disclosure of menstruation cycles, these disclosures have historically been optional.[4]

The first concern arises out of the overturning of Roe v. Wade,[5] physical examinations that require menstruation cycle disclosure could be used to track individuals with uterine periods.[6] Florida students, parents, and physicians worry that the state could use this information to criminally prosecute teens who seek abortions. Additionally, abortions are completely banned in Florida after 15 weeks with no rape, incest, or human tracking exceptions.[7] The second concern raises out of the Florida state legislature passing a bill in 2021 that bans trans women from playing on women’s sports teams.[8] The concern is that the menstruation cycle disclosure requirements will be used to ban trans athletes from playing on women’s sports teams, as a result, trans athletes will be forced to share that they have undergone the transition process and will not be allowed to play sports with their gender identity.[9]

Some physicians believe information from menstruation cycle reporting is important because “menstrual history is an ‘essential discussion for female athletes’ because period abnormalities could be a sign of ‘low energy availability, pregnancy, or other gynecologic or medical conditions.’”[10] Other doctors in Florida have raised concerns over HIPPA[11] and FERPA[12] as menstruation cycle information is private health data and should not be mandatory to report.[13] Student physicals will be must electronically submitted to Aktivate, a third-party data company, which will hold and collect the information from student physical examinations.[14] Aktivate assures the public it will be safe but law enforcement in other states have been able to successfully subpoena third-party data in criminal abortion prosecutions post-Dobbs because the software company “is not run by a medical-care provider and therefore isn’t bound to or protected by HIPAA laws.”[15] While Aktivate says it will abide by HIPPA and FERPA laws, Aktivate’s privacy policy notes that student data will be accessible by government entities, like law enforcement, if requested.[16]

The proposition for mandatory reporting was developed by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, which approved the policy recommendation in late January.[17] The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is the state’s official governing body for “interscholastic sports.”[18] The board includes members from the Oappointed by Governor Ron DeSantis.[19] This committee recommended changing the previous optional questions about menstrual cycles to “four mandatory questions about menstruation, including if the student has ever had a period, the age they had their first period, the date of their most recent period, and how many periods they’ve had in the past year.”[20]

The committee’s board of directors was supposed to meet in late February to discuss the policy recommendation further and make their final recommendations, but an emergency vote took place on February 9, 2023, due to widespread backlash from students, parents, physicians, and educators, the committee struck down the mandatory menstruation cycle information questions for Florida’s physical for the year 2023-2024 school year.[21] While removing the mandatory questions on athletes’ menstruation cycles the committee changed the question about the sex of the student to, asking the sex that the student was assigned at birth, which continues to bar trans athletes from playing sports in the state of Florida.[22] This mandatory menstruation reporting remains at issue in other states as other states require menstruation information and biological sex at birth affidavits to play sports.[23] Florida is not the only state with controversial mandatory menstruation reporting, it remains at issue in a number of jurisdictions that require exams of genitals for male athletes, and ask about female athletes’ menstrual cycles.[24] The many examples of mandatory reporting or disclosure have provided athletes a glimpse into a future where athletes will have to choose between their privacy or playing sports.


[1] Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 142 S. Ct. 2228 (2022) (overruling the constitutional right to abortion).

[2] See James Factora, Florida Signs Anti-Trans Sports Bill Into Law on First Day of Pride Month, Them (June 1, 2021), https://www.them.us/story/florida-signs-anti-trans-sports-bill-into-law; Delphine Luneau, BREAKING: Human Rights Campaign Condemns Florida Gov. DeSantis’ for Signing ‘Stop WOKE’ Act, Human Rights Campaign (April 22, 2022), https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/breaking-human-rights-campaign-condemns-florida-gov-desantis-for-signing-stop-woke-act (noting Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “’Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill,” which prevents teachers in Florida from talking about issues relating to LGBTQ+ community); see also Michael Moline, DeSantis spreads misinformation about transgender people in public appearance, Florida Phoenix (May 18, 2022),

 https://floridaphoenix.com/2022/05/18/desantis-spreads-misinformation-about-transgender-people-in-public-appearance/ (noting Gov. DeSantis made disparaging and untrue comments about Lia Thomas, a trans woman swimmer after she won the women’s 500-yard freestyle during the NCAA championship meet).

 [3] See Philip Marcelo, Florida weights mandating menstrual cycle details for female athletes, AP News (Feb 3, 2023) https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-desantis-florida-sports-female-athletes-160560972802.

[4] See Marcelo, supra note 3.

[5] Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) (overruled by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 142 S. Ct. 2228 (2022)).

[6] See Katherine Kokal, Florida student athletes asked to report their menstrual history. Here are the questions, Palm Beach Post (Oct. 4, 2022), https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/education/2022/10/04/why-florida-student-athletes-asked-their-periods-play/8084649001/.

[7] See Trudy Ring, Florida Wants Teen Athletes to Report Periods – Why?, Advocate (Feb. 2, 2023, 7:13 PM),  https://www.advocate.com/news/florida-teen-athletes-periods.

[8] Fla. Stat. § 1006.205 (2022); see also Anisha Kohli, Florida May Force High School Athletes to Disclose Their Menstrual History, Time (Feb. 1, 2023, 5:39 PM), https://time.com/6252147/florida_student_athletes_menstrual_history/; See Factora, supra note 2.

[9] James Factora, Female Student Athletes in Florida Are Being Asked to Report Their Menstrual Histories Online, Them (Oct. 7, 2022), https://www.them.us/story/florida-schools-female-athletes-menstrual-histories-online.

[10] Mike Schneider, Florida High School Sports Group Rethinks Menstrual Cycle Questions, NBCMiami https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/sports/florida-high-school-athletes-not-required-to-share-menstrual-history/2969078/ (last updated Feb. 9, 2023, 4:39 AM); see also Marcelo, supra note 3 (“Menstrual dysfunction is 2-3 times more common in athletes than nonathletes.”).

[11] See Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act Of 1996, 42 U.S. Code § 1320d–9 (noting HIPPA protects patients’ information and prevents healthcare workers from disclosing patients’ information without consent).

[12] See Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (noting FERPA protects student education records and requires consent for schools to disclose personal information about students).

[13] See Marcelo, supra note 3.

[14] See Julianne McShane, Form that asks female student-athletes in Florida about their menstrual histories sparks calls for change, NBCNews (Oct. 6, 2022), https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/florida-schools-ask-student-athletes-menstrual-history-parents-worry-p-rcna50794.

[15] See Tariro Mzezewa, Florida Wants to Force Student Athletes to Share Their Menstrual History, The Cut (Feb. 1, 2023), https://www.thecut.com/2023/02/florida-student-athletes-period.html; Kohli, supra note 8; see also Factora, supra note 9 (noting private communication from 3rd party companies were subpoenaed by law enforcement and used in a criminal abortion prosecution in Nebraska where the teen currently being tried as an adult was talking to her mother about trying to obtain abortion pills).

[16] See Factora, supra note 9.

[17] See Marcelo, supra note 3.

[18] See Marcelo, supra note 3.

[19] Marcelo, supra note 3.

[20] See Marcelo, supra note 3 (citing Florida High School Athletic Association Preparticipation Physical Form (Jan. 25, 2023). https://fhsaa.com/documents/2023/1/19//SMAC_PPE_Draft_1_17_2023.pdf?id=3887).

[21] See Samantha Putterman, For now, Florida student-athletes don’t have to share menstrual details. It could change, Politifact (Feb, 3, 2023), https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2023/feb/03/tweets/for-now-florida-student-athletes-dont-have-to-shar/ (last visited Feb. 12, 2023); Marcelo, supra note 3.

[22] Compare Florida High School Athletic Association Preparticipation Physical Form (Mar. 2016) https://fhsaa.com/documents/2020/3/26/el02_physical_2.pdf (last visited Feb. 12, 2023), with Florida High School Athletic Association Preparticipation Physical Form (Jan. 25, 2023),  https://fhsaa.com/documents/2023/1/19//SMAC_PPE_Draft_1_17_2023.pdf?id=3887; Cyd Zeigler, At least 44 states currently ask high school female athletes about their ‘menstrual period’, Outsports (Feb. 3, 2023, 3:57 PM), https://www.outsports.com/2022/10/12/23393286/menstrual-cycle-questions-female-athletes-states-high-school-trans-male-genital-inspection.

[23] See Kohli, supra note 8 (noting several school districts in Texas requires female athletes to complete questions on their menstrual history); see also Factora, supra note 9 (“there remains no evidence that trans girls have any advantages over cisgender women in sports.”); Zeigler, supra note 22.

[24] See Zeigler, supra note 22.