Shield bill gives unspecified ‘adult person’ rights equal to parents, VFA tells House committee

This week, two members of Vermont Family Alliance (VFA) presented testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on H89, a bill that seeks to shield reproductive health and gender-affirming providers and out-of-state persons seeking care in Vermont from “abusive litigation” from other states in which legislation and judicial judgments regarding these types of care conflict with Vermont’s.

VFA member Renee McGuinness focused testimony [click to see video] on gender-affirming care outlined in the bill, and the lack of international consensus of Standards of Care for youth presenting gender dysphoria. Carol Kauffman, President of VFA, focused on the lack of safeguards for minors and usurpation of parental rights (@15:20).

“Vermont Family Alliance is opposed to shielding gender care practitioners from litigation that we consider not necessarily abusive when the Standard of Care for minors in Vermont is exclusively gender-affirming,” stated McGuinness.

“While the State of Vermont has adopted an exclusively gender-affirming approach to care of minors presenting with gender dysphoria and incongruency, studies show there is no international consensus on the Standard of Care … particularly for birth-registered females [presenting in adolescence] – a demographic for which presentation of gender dysphoria has grown dramatically in recent years,” she said.

McGuinness cited the Cass Review Interim Report on The Tavistock Centre gender clinic commissioned by the UK National Health Services (NHS), released in February 2022. The independent study came after a lawsuit against Tavistock  gender clinic was filed.

Rep. Barbara Rachelson (D-Burlington) pointed to the American Academy of Pediatrics as having a Standard of Care for youth presenting with gender dysphoria, to which McGuinness reiterated that there is no international standard of care and that, “maybe the American Academy of Pediatrics and all these other United States medical organizations that might have what they have determined as Standards of Care – I think that they need to look at this Interim Report, and take it into consideration, and reevaluate their Standards of Care.”

Rep. Angela Arsenault stated she considers H89, as written, as in alignment with the goal of the Cass Interim Report that, “Every gender-questioning child or young person who seeks help from the NHS must receive the support they need to get on the appropriate pathway for them as an individual.” 

McGuinness emphasized agreement with “appropriate pathway for each individual” and stated that since Vermont has adopted a gender-affirming approach only, “it excludes all other options. That means all psychiatric care, all medical care is geared toward gender-affirming only – that’s not individual care, that’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ care.”

Kauffman testified, “This bill proposes to define legally protected healthcare activity to include reproductive healthcare services and gender-affirming healthcare for minors. H89 does not … set an age limit … does not address minor brain development, consent challenges, and protections such as case plans, due process, and court oversight … [and] does not protect parental rights and responsibilities.”

H89 allows non-custodial adults to be able to consent on behalf of minors as: “persons who provide reproductive health care services or gender-affirming health care service, persons who assist others in obtaining reproductive health care services or gender-affirming health care services …” (p.16).

The bill also allows “An adult person, a parent, or a legal guardian acting on behalf of a minor… may apply to the Secretary of State to have an address designated by the Secretary serve as the person’s address or the address of the minor…” (p.20)

“This ‘adult person’ is not defined, yet they are given equal rights and responsibilities as parents and legal guardians. Parents cannot continue to be excluded from selecting the adults that will have intimate access to their children,” Kauffman stated.

“H.89 does not set reasonable minor protections regarding these “persons” or “adult”, such as background checks, fingerprinting, registering with the Secretary of State, Vermont Department of Children and Families case plans, or court oversight.

“Thirty-seven states have parental notification laws … Vermont is not one of them. We are watching families flock to parental right states to protect their children,” Kauffman continued.

“Sister states will not come after Vermont because an adult chooses to come to Vermont to access legally protected health care including reproductive health care services and gender-affirming health care services. Prostitution-free states are not known to go after another state’s prostitution rights because an adult upon their own accord left that state to be part of another state’s prostitution market. This matter is entirely different when it comes to trafficking children across state lines.”

Kauffman closed her testimony with, “Vermont’s disregard for parental rights and responsibilities … statutes allowing unknown adults to access minors without parental knowledge, and extending Vermont’s Address Confidentiality Program to minors across our nation and beyond will not meet H.89’s standard of ‘abusive litigation’.”

Submitted by Vermont Family Alliance, a Parental Rights and Minor Protection Advocacy Group

Categories: Legislation

6 replies »

  1. Coming from one unspecified person to another….At the end of it all they will lead us to be one, indistinguishable mass of protoplasm.

    I used to think we all deserved better, but we don’t.

  2. The Vermont legislature is, literally, out of control. It seems to be creating the equivalent of denial-of-service attacks by flooding Vermonters with myriad proposed legislative actions to the point that concerned citizens can’t reasonably and proactively respond to all of them. The only recourse will be to respond re-actively. Of course, this jeopardizes every citizen who gets blind-sided by one legislative instance or another and having to respond in court.

    And then, the courts will be overwhelmed. Never mind the ludicrous decisions put forth by activist judges like the one in Brattleboro who dismissed a parental lawsuit against Academy School for vaccinating their child without permission.

    This must be a strategy to make an end-run on Article 9 of the Vermont Constitution, in which it is written: “… previous to any law being made to raise a tax, the purpose for which it is to be raised ought to appear evident to the Legislature to be of more service to community than the money would be if not collected.” After all, nothing ‘appears evident’ if we don’t have the time or capacity to review and respond to all of these proposals.

    But then again, does it matter anymore? A legislative supermajority is the epitome of tyranny. There’s nothing anyone can do to stop the onslaught.

    • Exactly. It is easier to now pass this legislation than to later repeal it.

  3. Yeah, well, they’d love for us all to be grey aliens with the same features and brain activity… except for their rulers.

  4. It’s even more horrifying when one realizes that many children don’t even say that they want to transition. The decision is made by others and the child’s will isn’t even part of the process.

  5. The proponents of this legislation appear to be pushing an agenda where every tomboy becomes a trans-man and every gay person is a straight trans person. This agenda is crazy. The fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has embraced this craziness only speaks to how corrupt that institution has become. Vermonters need to resist this (or to make it easier, just oppose every proposal introduced by the legislature so far this year, it’s all complete nonsense and stupidity).