A bill limiting parental rights is advancing in California after Democrats voted to approve Assembly Bill 665, which would allow therapists or counselors to approve a child as young as 12 years old to admit themselves to a state-run youth shelter. According to the Washington Free Beacon, while Senate Democrats support the measure, many oppose it, arguing that it will separate families and “emancipate” children without any regard for danger or parental consent. Although the bill does not mention gender identity, many are suspicious due to the history of one its authors, state senator Scott Wiener (D) who has been pushing for legislation that would revoke or limit custody for parents who do not “affirm” their child’s transgender identity.
The Free Beacon reports, “Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D.) and state senator Scott Wiener (D.), the co-authors of the bill, reiterated on Tuesday that they simply seek to give all children equal access to mental health services, as privately insured minors from age 12 can already receive outpatient therapy without parental consent. The bill would only apply to kids on Medi-Cal, the state Medicaid program that provides health coverage to eligible low-income residents.”
Critics pointed out that the bill gives too much autonomy to children and therapists, citing that there is no obligation for a therapist or counselor to prove that a 12-year old child is in danger or mature enough to be transferred to a “residential center.” The decisions to inform the parents or not would also be left up to the mental health professional, who, the Free Beacon reports, could be an intern or trainee. Other critics argued that Californians were not informed about the bill. Los Angeles mother Wendy Minas said that no one in her community knew about it, but they were “shocked and angry” when they learned that the legislation was seriously being considered.
The bill’s writers dismissed any criticism of it saying that it is “misinformation” and “lies.” Wiener said the bill makes children “safer” and “healthier,” adding that it is unfortunate that it got “caught up in this right-wing outrage.” However, many may question how Wiener defines what a safe and healthy child is when looking at his record of promoting transgender transition treatments and the limiting of parental rights.