Law allows state to take ‘temporary emergency jurisdiction’ over children who come for surgery
By Casey Harper, Center Square
Parents nationwide have rallied together to challenge a newly passed California bill that would allow a judge to revoke parental rights over a child who came from a different state seeking transgender surgery, puberty blockers and more.
Parental rights groups say they “have several grave concerns” with SB 107, which would allow California to take “temporary emergency jurisdiction” of a child that came to California for transgender operations or drugs, effectively stripping parents of their authority over their children.
The groups sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom calling on him to veto the bill.
“SB 107 blatantly violates the fundamental right of every parent in every state to direct the upbringing and care of their child,” the letter said. “This legislation allows the ‘taking of a child’ to California (without parental knowledge or consent) to obtain gender transition procedures – including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries – and impermissibly gives California courts the power to strip custody from lawful and well-intentioned parents (regardless of where they live) who may have legitimate concerns for their child’s mental and physical health.”
Parents also say the law “violates parental rights by denying parents access to their child’s medical information related to gender identity medications and procedures in California.”
“Multiple sections (1, 2, 3, and 10) of this legislation mandate the concealment of critical medical information from parents about their child, even if that information is sought under a subpoena,” the letter said. “This undermines the constitutional rights of parents, and also likely violates the laws of many other states which recognize a parent’s right to access their child’s medical information.”
The bill in question, which passed along party lines, is intended to make California a sanctuary state for transgender youth in response to other states banning things like transgender surgeries for minors. SB 107 blocks the release of this medical data or extradition from California.
Parents say this part, in particular, violated the Constitution, arguing that it “unlawfully overrides the jurisdiction of courts in a family’s home state that are usually the proper forum for custody determinations, and also conflicts with various federal laws governing which state courts have jurisdiction to determine child custody.”
“Deference to the laws and jurisdictions of the 49 other states is required under the ‘full faith and credit’ clause of the U.S. Constitution,” the letter said. “California cannot ignore the authority and jurisdiction of other states.”
Supporters argue the bill is meant to encourage and protect trans youth.
“California must stand with LGBTQ kids and their families, especially when they’re under attack across the country,” said State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, in a statement. “SB 107 ensures that California is a refuge state for trans kids and their parents, so they can be safe here.”
But parents say it is a violation of their rights and a top-down ideological agenda being forced on them.
“SB 107 makes California akin to the Pied Piper, enticing minor children nationwide to leave their families and run away in pursuit of harmful drugs and sterilizing surgeries, all of which cause irreversible harm to the minds, bodies, and family relationships of America’s precious children,” the letter said. “According to the American College of Pediatricians, 80 to 95 percent of children who experience gender confusion will ultimately embrace their biological sex if they are not encouraged to pursue gender identity treatments. Children experiencing gender confusion need the love, support, and guidance of their parents.
“They do not need to be taken from their parents and rushed down a pathway which leads to a lifetime of medicalization and sterilization,” the letter added.
Legal critics say the California law would violate parents’ Constitutional rights.
“Parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and care of their children, which includes making the best decisions regarding their child’s mental, emotional, and physical health,” said Emilie Kao, Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel. “In an astonishing disregard for federal law and the constitutional rights of parents, California wants to take away custody of children from their own parents—no matter what state they’re from—and deny families the right to access their child’s medical information. Thankfully, a growing coalition of parents, leaders, and organizations is standing up for the protection of our children, the fundamental rights of parents, and the jurisdiction of the states.”
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