As a parent defense attorney, I am always concerned when the government thinks it knows best when it comes to raising children. In my view, a mom and/or a dad who are loving, caring and know their child’s needs up close and personal are really the best. That’s why the recently passed HR-5 (also known as the Equality Act) concerns me. Among other things, it really does appear to be anti-family.
There are many groups who applaud and support this bill. The title alone makes you want to support it. We all want people to be treated respectfully and fairly. Respect for—and the safety of—our children should be a top priority when it comes to passing any legislation that could affect the family. But we may well be opening a real can of worms that undermines both respect and safety if this bill passes the Senate and becomes law.
There are many aspects to HR-5 that are troubling to various groups. However, I am going to focus only on the part of the bill that affects parental rights since that is what I do—fight for the rights of parents to parent their children without government interference. If passed by the Senate as it stands, the law would more than likely take away from parents the right to make medical decisions concerning their son or daughter when it comes to gender changes. In fact, even without the law, it’s already happening. For example, in Ohio the parents of a 17-year-old girl would not allow testosterone treatment. Instead, they wanted to pursue counseling for their daughter. The county removed the girl and charged the parents with abuse and neglect. Ultimately, they lost their parental rights.
As most parents are aware, kids can sometimes be confused about whether they are male or female. Gender dysphoria is a real thing affecting an estimated 1 in 30,000 males and 1 in 100,000 females according to the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5. But it is also something that most children grow out of as they get older IF they are not subjected to “gender affirmation treatments.” Yes, that’s a real thing. Under HR-5, a child can potentially make the decision to change gender without the parents having any say in the matter. Ask yourself if an 11-year-old really understands the ramifications of sex-change. Does a 4-year-old? Do you want your child to make a potentially permanent change to his or her body without your consent? Or to take drugs that can permanently alter body chemistry without your consent? This bill, as written, does not even want to wait for a child to grow up and make informed decisions about gender. Instead, it strips parents of their rights to help, affirm, counsel and do what is best for their child. The child they know and love. The concept of “one size fits all” should not fit all when it comes to children.
Now I know that supporters of HR-5 are saying none of this will happen. Given the current political climate, do you believe them? Not me. If you want to get involved call your senator and voice your opposition (or support). The capitol switchboard number is: 202-224-3121. If you want to get further involved to stop HR-5, I suggest you visit stophr5.com and donate to send postcards to members of the Senate, Supreme Court, and the White House.