'State-sanctioned kidnapping': California bill would give therapists power to take children over 12 from parents 'without accusation, evidence, or trial'

The proposed bill would allow a mental health professional to place a child as young as 12 in a residential shelter facility without parental knowledge or consent and without there being any prior allegations of incest or child abuse.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC
A California Democrat has proposed a bill that would allow a mental health professional to place a child as young as 12 in a residential shelter facility without parental knowledge or consent and without there being any prior allegations of incest or child abuse.

The stated purpose of AB 665, introduced by Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo, is to bring two existing laws into alignment. Currently children age 12 and over are able to consent to receiving mental health treatment or counseling services but cannot consent to being placed into a residential shelter facility unless deemed either a risk to themselves or others, or in cases where the minor is an alleged victim of incest or child abuse. AB 665 seeks to remove these caveats.

The bill is strongly opposed by Our Duty, an international group of parents of children who are, or were, gender-questioning, who believe the law would amount to “state-sanctioned kidnapping.”

According to Erin Friday, co-lead of Our Duty, the bill will give counselors unfettered control over children age 12 and above. In a letter to the state assembly, Friday gives the example of a hypothetical 6th grader who informs her school counselor that she is a “trans boy.” Friday argues that if AB 665 were to be enacted, that child may not come home from school that day but could instead be sent to an “LGBTQ housing facility.” 

“The parents will have no idea what happened to their child,” writes Friday. “Imagine their fear and anxiety. These parents are criminalized without an accusation, evidence or trial.”

AB 665 states that a “shocking 78 percent of LGBTQ+ youth who were surveyed shared they had considered suicide,” and most had done so in the last year, and that nearly one-third had made an attempt in the past year.

The bill goes on to state that LGBTQ+ youth experience depression and anxiety, as well as other negative outcomes, due to rejection from parents, harassment in school, and the “overall LGBTQ negativity present in society.”

Many so-called gender-affirming therapists believe that non-affirming parents are a danger to their children, while at the same time holding the belief that experimental sex change interventions, such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, are “life-saving” care.

Bill AB665 would give such therapists the power to send a gender-confused child to a residential shelter facility.

Dr. Riitta Kaltiala, chief psychiatrist at Finland's Tampere U gender clinic, recently said the transition-or-suicide narrative is "purposeful disinformation, the dissemination of which is irresponsible."

"Twelve is the magic number — the age that California can steal all of the rights of the parents, and hand over medical and mental health decisions to a child who we do not entrust with any other major decision specifically because they are not capable of comprehending the long-term consequences and are at an age known for impulsivity and lack of forethought,” writes Friday. 

“These bills are all couched in protecting children from suicide but the opposite results occur when you destabilize them by reinforcing the baseless accusations that a child’s loving parents do not have their best interest in mind.”

In 2010, former Governor Schwarzenegger signed Family Code 6924, which gave children age 12 and over the ability to obtain mental health counseling without parental consent. The aim was to prevent youth suicide, but according to Friday, it has failed.

“According to the CDC, the suicide rates have increased by 11% for those 24 and younger since 2011, the year the law went into effect,” she explains. “Instead of repealing a bill that has not helped our youth, California is doubling down and further eroding parents’ role in their child’s life.”

“Removing loving parents from the children’s lives will not help them,” concluded Friday.

A Judiciary Committee hearing for AB 665 is scheduled to take place on March 28.

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