A bill that gives children in California’s foster care system a variety of dangerous, age-inappropriate “rights” has already passed the California State Assembly and is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, July 9th.

AB 175 amends and expands the state’s existing “foster care bill of rights.” One new “right” created by the bill guarantees children in foster care the right, “at any age, to consent to or to decline services regarding contraception, pregnancy care and perinatal care…without the knowledge or consent of any adult.”

In an Orwellian twisting of language by pro-abortion activists, “pregnancy care” includes the right to abort an unborn child. So a 14–year-old girl living with a foster care family could receive an abortion – without her foster parents’ knowledge or consent.

The bill also stipulates that children may have such “care” even when they have been sexually assaulted, again, without the knowledge or consent of any adult. California Family Council (CFC) President Jonathan Keller says this hinders foster care parents from caring for and helping sexually abused children, “Foster parents care deeply about their children, and desperately want to protect them from abuse. But how can they do this if the state keeps them in the dark, even in cases of rape?”

The legislation also allows young foster children to make other major health care decisions, such as:

  • “At 12 years of age or older, to consent to or decline health care services to prevent, test for, or treat sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and mental health services, without the consent or knowledge of any adult.”
  • “At 12 years of age or older, to choose their own health care provider for medical, dental, vision, mental health, substance use disorder services, and sexual and reproductive health care, if payment for the service is authorized under applicable federal Medicaid law or other approved insurance.”
  • Children in foster care – of all ages, presumably – have the right to “covered gender affirming health care and gender affirming mental health care.”

“Gender affirming health care,” also referred to as “gender affirming therapy” (GAT), refers to medical professionals agreeing with an individual’s gender confusion. Instead of helping a child embrace his or her bodily reality, GAT encourages “transitioning” and can include permanent and potentially damaging treatments such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries.

Dr. Andre Van Mol is a family physician and nine-time foster parent who also co-chairs the Committee on Adolescent Sexuality for the American College of Pediatricians. In testimony opposing AB 175, Van Mol explains that “GAT is not proven effective, not proven safe, does not reduce suicides and is not the international standard of care for gender dysphoria. It is ill-advised for a condition that overwhelmingly resolves (desists) by adulthood.”

AB 175 also gives children in foster care the “right” to “be placed in out-of-home care according to their gender identity” and “to be referred to by the child’s preferred name and gender pronoun.”

CFC representative Greg Burt has testified against AB 175 three times. In one committee hearing he explained, “Forcing [Christian] foster parents to refer to their foster children as the wrong gender is forcing them affirm what they believe is a lie. And not only a lie, but harmful to the child.” He said that this would drive people of faith out of the foster care system, “Many foster parents are people of faith. They seek to obey and follow God by loving and serving others. Foster parents are heroes that you should be respecting, not driving away. “

Burt also expressed concern that many of the “rights” enshrined in AB 175 actually put children at greater risk of being exploited and do little to ensure their safety. He says children in foster care are already vulnerable to sexual exploitation and sex trafficking and some of the “rights” being granted will make them even more at risk. The bill gives children the right to completely confidential communication, usage of computers and the internet, and access to contraception. Burt says, “Traffickers are going to love these new rules.”

Focus on the Family believes every child needs and deserves a loving, stable home, and our ministry has long supported foster care and foster families. Through events such as Wait No More, we highlight the need for foster families and encourage Christian families to welcome children and youth into their homes. AB 175 not only endangers children, but makes it more difficult for Christians to help children in the foster care system.

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