Senate Bill 5599, sponsored by far-left Democratic state senator Marko Liias would allow shelters or host homes to provide housing for runaway minors without being required to notify their parents if they have a "compelling reason" to keep the information a secret.
According to the legislation, a "compelling reason" means "the youth is in the host home or seeking placement in a host home to receive protected health care services."
The bill does not require proof of abuse in the household nor even an allegation of abuse. As a result, merely seeking "protected health care services" is enough of a reason to keep the runaway’s location hidden from parents and clears the way for children between the ages of 13 and 18 to stay at these facilities without their parents’ knowledge for an indefinite time while seeking services related to gender dysphoria and gender transitioning.
In 2019, Democrats passed similar legislation allowing minors to receive gender-affirming care without parental consent but the minors were still subject to parental oversight.
According to the summary of the latest bill, "Protected health care services means gender-affirming treatment and reproductive health care services that are lawful in the state of Washington. Gender-affirming treatment means health services or products that support and affirm an individual’s gender identity, including social, psychological, behavioral, and medical or surgical interventions. Gender-affirming care services include, but are not limited to, evaluation and treatments for gender dysphoria, gender-affirming hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgical procedures."
The bill allocates up to $7.5 million of Washington taxpayers’ money to the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection in order to provide grants to organizations to pay for "protected health care services."
Included under the "protected health care services" in the bill are "maternity services."
The bill enables any teenager to run away to a youth shelter, claiming they are seeking protected health care services and be hidden from their parents.
Senate Republican Leader John Braun said in a statement, "A parent may not even know why the child ran away and could involve law enforcement or other groups in a desperate search – all the while going through an unnecessary emotional nightmare, imagining the worst about what might have happened. It’s also wrong how this bill would also apply to children from other states who may travel thousands of miles for services not available to them at home. Unless there is reason to suspect parental abuse or harm, parents deserve to know where their teenagers are."
"Democrats have claimed many times that the brains of minors are not fully developed until age 22," he continued. "Right now, they are sponsoring a juvenile offender sentencing bill [Senate Bill 5475] based on ‘the expansive body of scientific research on brain development, which shows that adolescents’ perception, judgment, and decision-making skills differs significantly from that of adults.’ It’s revealing how brain research matters to them when juveniles break the law, but not when they seek life-altering, potentially irreversible health care."Democrats passed the legislation despite over 4,700 people, 98 percent in opposition, testifying on the bill.
One former transgender youth testified against SB 5599, sharing her experience as a sexual-assault survivor and her concern about the effects of the bill on vulnerable children saying, "In the short term, I might have felt better having medically transitioned. Despite feeling better in the short term, the medical transition would have profoundly damaged me, potentially even more than the sexual assault [that caused her gender dysphoria]."
The bill still has to pass through the state's House, which is a majority Democrat, before it can head to Governor Jay Inslee's desk.
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