American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parental rights advocates want to roll back child abuse protections

The CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently connected parental rights advocates with an effort to roll back child abuse protections.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

The CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently linked parental rights advocates seeking to defend their fundamental right to make decisions about how to raise their children with an effort to roll back child abuse protections.

Mark Del Monte made the comments in a virtual Child Health Advocacy event hosted by the Oregon Pediatric Society in April this year after being asked to share his perspectives on the rights of children. 

In a clip of the discussion shared on Twitter by parental rights advocate Megan Brock, Del Monte appears to connect the grassroots movement of parents campaigning to have gender ideology and sexually explicit content removed from school curriculum with the denial of child abuse and abusive head trauma.

"If you look at efforts to seek individualized permission…about curriculum decisions in school…or efforts to rollback child abuse protection or deny that there's such a thing as abusive head trauma…or opt-out of public health approaches, from vaccines to masking to fluoride, you add up all of these things, even though they seem like different topics, what I worry about…is that it is a consistent and steady diminution of the rights of a child as a child," explained Del Monte.

Del Monte believes that allowing parents to make decisions about what their child is taught, or what medical procedures their child is to undergo is essentially rolling back "100 years of legal developments around the rights of children and [turning] them back into property."

He then went on to draw a baffling comparison with society 100 years ago when the concept of child abuse did not exist in its modern form and cruelty to children was considered in the same category as cruelty to animals, and appeared to suggest that we are currently taking "small, steady, incremental steps" back to those days.

Megan Brock tweeted to say she found his words "chilling."

"For me, these words are chilling. Even suggesting the idea that the parental authority of loving, caring parents, a longstanding cultural bedrock, is not fundamentally beneficial to children but rather can jeopardize a child’s rights, is very shaky ground," Brock tweeted.

As schools have implemented policies to keep students' gender identities secret from parents, many parents have balked, claiming that teachers and administrators should not keep their children's mental health status secret from parents. Administrators and teachers have argued that they have to do this for the safety of the child, and that if they do not keep gender identity secret from parents, they risk the child being subjected to abuse by parents if those parents are not accepting of the gender identity.

Often, this secret is kept without any proof that parents are either non-accepting or that parents are abusive. A case in Florida where a school kept a student's gender identity secret from parents gained national attention when it was revealed that teachers kept the secret from parents because they believed that the parents' Catholic religion indicated that the parents would be abusive. The family was not told until after the child had attempted suicide on school grounds—twice.

The AAP is a powerful institution that pediatricians look to for guidance on current standards of care, but questions have been raised about how trustworthy the group is, with some experts suggesting that it is prone to ideological capture.

In 2018, the academy issued a policy statement endorsing gender-affirming care for minors that was drawn up by an activist-led sub-committee. The statement was so scientifically flawed that Canadian sexologist James Cantor wrote a scathing rebuttal in 2019 in which he said the “AAP told neither the truth nor the whole truth, committing sins of commission and omission, asserting claims easily falsified by anyone caring to do any fact-checking at all.”

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