California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has enacted the controversial Assembly Bill 665, which critics labeled as "dangerous" and "illegal."
The bill outlines that 12-year-olds can provide consent for these services if they are deemed "sufficiently mature to engage intelligently in outpatient or residential shelter services" and if they are an "alleged victim" of incest or child abuse, posing risks to themselves or others. Importantly, the law does not necessitate proof of substantial harm.
Moreover, the legislation mandates medical professionals to consult with the minor to assess whether the involvement of the minor's parent or guardian would be inappropriate.
California lawmakers assert that this intrusion into parental authority is justified because children identifying as LGBT often encounter parental rejection, school-based harassment and wider societal stigma. Obtaining parental consent can be challenging due to parents' beliefs and stigma concerning mental health care.
The law faced opposition from California's GOP before its passage, with Senator Ochoa Bogh sending a letter to Newsom stating that "by eliminating the requirement for minors to experience extraordinary circumstances to consent to mental health services independently, we disregard parents' right to make informed decisions regarding their child's health." (Related: AOC’s rant against parental rights shows the pro-LGBT left really is after your kids.)
Recently, the state introduced a law requiring all schools to have gender-neutral restrooms by 2026. Additionally, schools that fail to teach about historical figures like Harvey Milk, a prominent LGBT rights activist, risk facing fines of up to $1.5 million.
Newsom's anti-parent law faces numerous lawsuits.
The law raises concerns about parental rights by granting authority to therapists, interns and trainees at government-funded welfare agencies to remove children from their parents without due process.
Assembly Bill 665, introduced by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, allows children aged 12 and above to be relocated to a residential shelter or engage in mental health treatment and counseling without the need for parental consent.
Critics, including Carl DeMaio, the chairman of Reform California, label this law as "dangerous" and "illegal." They argue that it could separate children from their parents if they do not align with certain ideological perspectives.
DeMaio also pointed out the absence of due process in removing children from their homes and the potential for numerous federal civil rights lawsuits. He said the bill "effectively takes children away from their parents if they aren't 'woke' enough."
"The worst part is that the bill permits even counselors and interns to make and facilitate decisions to allow the state to take these kids away from their parents," he added.
Supporters of the bill argue that it aims to protect children from abusive situations, which they define as those where parents or guardians do not support "gender-affirming" treatments. DeMaio, however, contested this notion, emphasizing that existing mechanisms and reporting resources already address abuse concerns.
In addition, the bill eliminates the current statutory requirement for a credible finding of abuse, neglect or danger of harm to authorize child removal.
DeMaio characterized the law as another step in the "anti-parent" agenda pursued by liberal Sacramento politicians, who have been criticized for eroding parental rights in various ways. He stressed that the bill is met with outrage across the political spectrum and is particularly concerning to Latino families, who value close-knit family bonds.
This presents an opportunity for Republican reformers to engage with Latino communities and potentially impact the electoral landscape in California's 2024 election.
Reform California is actively working to oppose AB 665 and target politicians who support the law, with plans to make it a campaign issue in the 2024 election. They will release a "Plain English" voter guide closer to the 2024 California Primary Election.
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