State Cuts Parents Out of Equation for Minors Seeking Trans Medical Procedures
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A new Washington state law has drawn national attention after opponents said it elevates state authority over parental rights, allowing minors to pursue medical gender-changing interventions and abortions without parents' consent.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5599 into law on Tuesday. The controversial measure drew protesters to the state capitol in Olympia last month to protest both for and against the legislation.
State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett), the bill's sponsor, told KOMO News, the measure protects transgender and at-risk youth by removing barriers to safe shelter.
The shelters would not be required to report to parents if teenagers were seeking gender-changing hormone therapies or abortions.
Instead, the measure requires reporting those youth to the state's Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). The measure applies to host homes, as well, according to the outlet.
According to the bill, one reason for not notifying parents about their child staying in a shelter or host home is "circumstances that indicate notifying the parent or legal guardian will subject the minor to abuse or neglect."
The "protected health care services" include gender-altering procedures, which for minors included anything prescribed by a doctor to treat dysphoria, the bill said.
"Gender-affirming treatment can be prescribed to two-spirit, transgender, nonbinary, and other gender diverse individuals," the bill said.
The legislation has been criticized by opponents as "child abuse."
State Senate Republican Leader John Braun said the troubling legislation "clears the way" for kids to "game the system" by taking away parents' God-given rights, according to Town Hall.
"The only thing SB 5599 would do is cause harm by driving a wedge between vulnerable kids and their parents, at a time when a teen lacks the perception and judgment to make critical life-altering decisions," Braun said. "A parent may not even know why the child ran away and could involve law enforcement or other groups in a desperate search… all the while going through an unnecessary emotional nightmare, imagining the worst about what might have happened."
Braun also told Town Hall that children's brains are not fully developed until they are at least 22 years of age, which means Democrats are pushing minors to believe they can make a life-altering decision that they may regret one day.
Podcast host Brandi Kruse challenged two Washington state Democratic state senators to explain their support of SB 5599.
In a video clip of her interview shared to Twitter, Kruse asked State Sen. John Lovick (D-44th Legislative District), "Do you think if a parent has concerns about their child getting gender care or an abortion that makes that person a bad parent?"
"I don't. I don't think that makes them a bad parent," he replied.
"So why then support a bill that possibly would keep that parent in the dark about their kid's location?" Kruse followed up. "I guess I'm very confused by it."
"Brandi, I don't know any other way to answer the question, other than to say that at the time the bill was presented to me and as I read the language in the bill, it felt and it seemed, and the information I had, it felt like the thing that we needed to do to provide the care for those youngsters that are living and dealing with some very difficult times in their lives," Lovick replied.
State Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5th Legislative District ) said, "I would say when it comes to transgender kids, I think, I just find myself overly sympathetic. Their lives have been extremely hard. And so, I just don't want to feel like any votes I'm taking is making it harder. But I've also understood as the parents of six kids like people are p----d off about it. And I get it. It's got a lot more national attention than I ever would have expected."
The conservative group Conservative Ladies of Washington issued a statement opposing SB 5599.
"This bill is an assault on children and parental rights in Washington state. This bill allows adults to prey on special-needs children or children with trauma, mood disorders, and other mental health issues. Shutting out parents and severing this critical relationship for children in order to do irreversible procedures is destructive and often deadly for these children. Based on a 'compelling reason', which would be that minor child that has been convinced to get 'gender affirming' services (or an abortion), this bill would allow providers to cut parents out of the decision-making process," the statement said.
Washington Senate Republicans had asked voters to tell the governor to veto the bill. "People are overwhelmingly against SB 5599, including many LGBT+ folks. Democrats pass it anyway, allowing youth shelters to hide kids seeking 'gender-affirming care' from their parents," the group tweeted.
Fox News reports other states, such as California, are also considering legislation that would restrict parents' rights.
California filed a bill in March that allows adolescents to be admitted to a group home without parental agreement with clearance from school counselors. The bill is currently being considered in the State Senate, according to KPTV.
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