Washington Democrats have proposed a bill that effectively encourages minors to run away from home to receive gender-affirming care, including gender reassignment surgery, without parental consent and at taxpayer expense.
Democrats passed similar legislation allowing minors to receive gender-affirming care without parental consent in 2019. But those kids were still subject to parental oversight. Senate Bill 5599, sponsored by far-left state senator Marko Liias (D-Everett), changes that. It permits shelters or host homes to provide housing for runaway minors without being required to notify their parents.
This is arguably the most extreme bill Democrats have attempted to pass in the history of the state legislature.
The bill explicitly allows for gender surgery without parental consent
Shelters or host homes will not need to report a runaway to parents if they have a “compelling reason” to keep the information a secret.
The bill says: “‘Compelling reason’ means the youth is in the host home or seeking placement in a host home to receive protected health care services.” This means that merely seeking “protected health care services” is reason enough to keep the runaway’s whereabouts from parents. It does not require proof of abuse in the household nor even an allegation of abuse. Not that it would matter to left-wing gender extremists.
If a parent says no to removing their 14-year-old daughter’s breasts, it is seen as neglect or abuse by many progressive activists and politicians. And that’s precisely the kind of health care service that would be allowed without parental consent, according to the bill summary.
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. (emphasis my own; note it also provides abortion coverage for minors, but this story is focused on gender-affirming care.)
The bill even commits up to $7.5 million to the Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection to provide grants to organizations to cover “protected health care services.” This would allow taxpayer dollars to be spent on surgeries that could lead to life-altering consequences for the child runaways.
The spin and gaslighting
Proponents insist this bill supports children. It’s transparent gaslighting meant to further the Radical Left’s gender push. They also claim the bill doesn’t allow for transgender surgical care without parental consent. They’re either lying or haven’t read their own bill.
Liias paints this as an urgent issue to help the roughly 30,000 Washington youth he baselessly claims identify as transgender.
But the left-wing state senator explicitly acknowledged during testimony that this was about “ensuring that our young people in Washington get appropriate access to healthcare… in particular, to our transgender youth.” He said that when trans youth do not have access to “gender-affirming care,” it can lead to suicide and depression.
“Unfortunately, the data shows that not every family is ready to provide that support and assistance,” Liias said. “And that’s where this piece of legislation comes in. If there is a trans youth in Washington who is trying to seek these essential health care services that are vital to their long-term success and the safety of their life, and they’re not able to get support from their family to access that care, we want to create a safe ability for them to access that care. And that means, at some points, providing shelter assistance through our existing shelter programs and then also looking at the host-home model as a way to get young people into safe accommodations while they seek gender-affirming care.”
Proponents of extreme gender ideology label all critics as bigots who don’t support kids. They present themselves as heroes saving lives. They have their claims mixed up.
The lazy, transparent smears
Liias defended his bill on Twitter so he could avoid debate. But, as is usually the case with this particular lawmaker, it’s mostly gaslighting.
He calls out the “hateful language and disinformation being spread about our state’s efforts to support trans youth accessing gender-affirming care.” He means if you criticize his extremism, you don’t support children. But the criticism is leveled precisely because of care for children.
The state senator claims “the extreme right likes to focus on surgery because it sounds scary,” before conceding that gender-affirming care for youth does, in fact, include surgery. It sounds scary because it is scary. Facial feminization surgery and top surgery are extreme and permanent. Liias supports surgical intervention on minors — even without parental consent — so long as the child can find a willing doctor.
And while Liias and others seem to think puberty blockers are harmless and reversible, there’s been growing data (ignored by the media) suggesting it can cause lasting health problems. Instead of deliberate care, left-wing doctors quickly prescribe hormones for patients before they fully understand the risks.
The guilt tactic
State senator Joe Nguyen (D-White Center) is a co-sponsor of the bill. He argued during a committee hearing that the reason to support the bill is to cut down on trans suicide, implying that gender-affirming helps. But that’s not what the data says. At best, the claim can be that gender-affirming care doesn’t impact the mental health of trans youth.
Nguyen’s tactic is to guilt people into submission: if you push back, you must want teens to kill themselves. But by not pushing back, you’re allowing kids to make life-altering decisions that may provide more harm than good. Under this bill, they’d be surrounded by adults that would encourage them to make medical decisions that may not be the best decision in the long term. These adults will use these trans teens to earn social currency, allowing them to say they’re champions of the marginalized.
The bill would effectively allow them to doctor-shop for one who will provide certain services. The doctor who knows the child best may be opposed to it, but they have no say because the kid ran away from home.
Having it both ways
Liias makes conflicting arguments in a desperate attempt to defend his bill.
He admits that the bill is about delivering health care, including surgery, to trans kids without parental consent after they run away from home. “Unfortunately, some families abuse and mistreat trans youth in their care. That is why it’s essential to provide safe spaces for youth to receive support as they access vital, life-saving health care. That is the purpose of our legislative work this year,” he said.
But in a separate tweet, he claims his bill has nothing to do with when a kid is given health care.
“This year’s bill does not describe when minors can access health care services, that is already in the law. The bill is focused on providing shelter and support services when a youth is seeking essential health care,” he tweeted while claiming my criticism is “misleading.”
But I’m not arguing the bill describes “when minors” get care. I’m saying it allows them to get care without parental consent. That’s literally the point of the bill and why any reasonable person would object to it.
Helping abused or neglected teens
There are obviously minors who are confused about their gender or live with gender dysphoria. They should be responsibly cared for. In instances where there is actual abuse or neglect — which does happen — they do need a safe space. The law already provides for it.
Liias’ bill doesn’t require abuse or neglect to be alleged or even established. All a teen has to do is run away in search of protected services. He is assuming that all runaways suffer abuse or neglect, which is, of course, categorically false.
So why is this bill written so broadly? I believe Liias belongs to the extreme left wing that wants kids to transition immediately. How often did your college-aged kid change their major? In Liias’ world, no kid would make the wrong choice when it comes to something substantially more dangerous and life-impacting.
Activists rush teens into transition
Activists won’t accept that maybe gender confusion is natural and not an indication of being ready to transition.
If that same trans teen commits a murder, Washington Democrats don’t believe they should face life in prison. They say their brains aren’t fully formed to understand the consequences of their actions. If that same trans teen wants to use a tanning bed, they couldn’t until they’re 18 years old. Democrats supported the law claiming it was not healthy. But if the trans teen wants to undergo top surgery, with or without parental consent? Democrats have no qualms, and you better not push back.
There’s no room for parental discussion or disagreement with their child with a Washington Democrat supporting this bill. If the child wants top surgery, and the parent doesn’t rush to connect with doctors to provide it, that parent is deemed unsupportive and abusive. This bill essentially tells the child they can run away from that kind of home to get surgery paid for by tax dollars. It breaks up families and will ruin the lives of children.
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