Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is now promoting a bizarre conspiracy theory that says that two states – Washington and California – are working on laws to separate children from their parents if the parents oppose gender-affirming care.
She retweeted a conservative activist’s statement that the two states are “separating kids from their parents… if parents refuse to trans their children.” One of the messages Greene shared even mentioned that California’s bill is A.B. 665, possibly implying that the bill’s number is close to 666, a number associated with the devil.
“California wants to completely destroy the rights of parents to raise their kids,” Greene wrote. “If you refuse to bend to the state-sponsored trans agenda, you will have your children taken away.”
“This is exactly why Congress must pass my Protect Children’s Innocence Act, to protect children from this dangerous ideology and protect parents from a tyrannical government.”
She was referring to her federal bill to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, make gender-affirming care more difficult for adults to access, and ban medical schools from teaching about gender-affirming care.
California’s bill does nothing like that. A.B. 665 would allow minors over the age of 12 in the state’s Medi-Cal program to get mental health treatments like therapy paid for through health care benefits without parental opt-in. Currently, only young people in Medi-Cal who are in imminent danger of self-harm or being abused can get their mental health care covered, and A.B. 665 would end that requirement.
“Youth of color express significant trepidation about needing to disclose to parents their mental health concerns and their need to access services,” A.B. 665 says. “For LGBTQ+ youth, the rejection from parents, harassment in school, and the overall LGBTQ negativity present in society can lead to depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol use, and other negative outcomes. Over one-half of surveyed LGBTQ+ youth reported that not being able to get permission from their parents or guardians was sometimes or always a barrier to accessing mental health services.”
Only kids in the state’s Medi-Cal program need to get their parents’ consent in order to get mental health care covered, while kids in families that have private insurance, bill sponsor Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D) says, don’t need to. Youth of color are more likely than their white peers to be enrolled in Medi-Cal.
Greene’s accusation that “if you refuse to bend to the state-sponsored trans agenda, you will have your children taken away” does not appear to be related to the text of the bill at all.
Washington’s bill is about youth shelters. Washington S.B. 5599 would allow minors to stay in homeless youth shelters without calling their parents if they’re seeking legal reproductive or gender-affirming health care.
Under current state law, shelters are required to inform a minor’s parents if they turn up at the shelter, unless they’re being abused or neglected. S.B. 5599 would add a new exception to parental notification.
While opponents of the bill have focused on surgeries, bottom surgery isn’t performed on trans minors, top surgery is very rarely performed on older teens in some limited cases, and trans youth without access to their parents’ health care are unlikely to be accessing this kind of care. The bill’s sponsors – state Senators Marko Liias (D) and Joe Nguyen (D) – said in a Seattle Times op-ed that it’s more about trans teens not fearing that they’ll be sent back to their parents if they are socially transitioning and ran away or were kicked out of their homes.
“It is also critical that we make abundantly clear that the focus of this bill is not about taking away parental rights, but rather supporting young people who may be in unsafe environments,” the lawmakers wrote. “Children – no matter their age, gender identity or background – are entitled to safe spaces where they have the freedom to express their true selves. Washington must clear the path to ensure success for every child.”