By Silar - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Legal experts and parental advocates say a bill being considered in the New York state legislature could end up being another vehicle to allow kids to make life-altering medical decisions behind their parents’ backs.

The bill, A0 6761, which was introduced in January by Democratic state Assemblywoman Karines Reyes, alongside eight other democratic members, says in the summary that it would allow homeless youth to “give effective consent to certain medical, dental, health, and hospital services.” Parental advocates who spoke to the DCNF, however, warned that the legislation is purposefully “vague” and would allow children to consent to sex-change medical procedures without parents ever knowing.

Reyes said in a statement that the bill is for kids to be able to get things like the flu shot and that it would only apply to “a very small fraction of young people who are currently falling through the cracks,” according to Bronx News 12. The bill’s text, however, says that “any person, including a minor, who comprehends the need for, the nature of, and the reasonably foreseeable risks and benefits … may give effective consent to such services for themself.”

Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow with the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF that the bill, by its own admission, would clearly apply to all minors who don’t want their parents involved and is just a means to an end to provide “‘gender-affirming’ care.”

“I find this very interesting language here,” Parshall Perry said. “When we … paint children as incapable of making contracts, voting, getting a tattoo or registering for the draft, while saying they have sufficient maturity and intelligence to be able to make consequential decisions about long term healthcare; decisions that will affect their bodies, potentially for the rest of their lives. That is distinctly an effort to evade parental notification and parental involvement [in cases] where parents aren’t supportive of the junk science.”

January Littlejohn, a parental advocate with Do No Harm, an organization that fights against the medical transition of minors, expressed similar sentiments and told the DCNF that “children lack the cognitive maturity to make medical decisions on their own,” making it “critical” to include parents.

The bill would also prohibit providers from informing parents if their child obtained medical or mental health treatment unless the child says otherwise. Emily Viola, a New York mother of a detransitioner, told the DCNF that her daughter began to express feelings of gender dysphoria around 12 years old and was identifying as a male by age 13.

The mental health counselor working with Viola’s daughter affirmed her transgender identity after one appointment and encouraged an immediate social transition, using a new name and preferred pronouns. Viola and her husband pushed back hard after their daughter requested cross-sex hormone treatment and expressed an interest in top surgery.

As a mother, Viola said that she could not imagine what could have happened if A0 6761 had been law at the time and legally prevented her from even knowing, let alone consenting to these kinds of medical procedures.

“My child would have been able to access the testosterone that she wanted at age 13,” Viola said. “She would have had complete access to things that she has now said to me on two or three occasions, ‘Mom, thank you so much for not letting me get medically transitioned’ … It’s horrifying.”

Teachers and guidance counselors could become tools of the state if the bill passes, according to Michael Kane, a former special education teacher for 14 years, who was fired for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. Kane told the DCNF that during his time as a teacher, he had spoken with guidance counselors who told him that they had to affirm a child’s gender dysphoria or risk being accused of “conversion therapy,” which has been illegal in New York since 2019.

“As a teacher when a crisis came up from one of my kids, I went to a guidance counselor,” Kane explained. “I’ve talked to guidance counselors who have directly said to me, ‘If a child tells me that they are a different sex and they want a different name, I automatically call them that and automatically call them by those pronouns.’ There’s no other questions asked besides that.”

Kane further warned that teachers would be too afraid to say anything for fear of being reprimanded or losing their jobs, leaving a child’s welfare, not up to their parents, but to administrators, depending on each school’s policies.

Natalya Murakhver, the founder of Restore Childhood, a New York nonprofit aimed at protecting children’s health and well-being, echoed this concern and told the DCNF that keeping the parents out of the loop allows for vulnerable children to be preyed upon in class, at the doctor’s office or online.

“Let’s see what could go wrong: Jodie goes to school today and is feeling really bad. She has a huge fight with her boyfriend and she’s already autistic,” Murakhver said. “She gets a Social Emotional Learning survey, but Mom never gets to hear about it and Mom never sees the results. It shows Jodie might be suicidal, and maybe Jodie needs to identify as Joe. Then she gets piped out to the community school and the mental health care worker says, ‘Yep Jodie said she wants to be a boy.’ Then she’s off to the doctor. None of this, meanwhile, is being communicated to the parents.”

Transgender medical procedures have been credited with serious side effects, including bone damageblood clots, fertility issues and liver damage. Sex-change surgeries often have complications and require many follow-up surgeries.

Parshall Perry said that under the bill if a child suffered “emergency complications” the parents would be completely in the dark.

“It’s broad and constitutionally prohibited,” Parshall Perry told the DCNF. ” We’re reading more and more now about the parade of complications, everything from hemorrhaging to tissue necrosis to loss of sexual function to incontinence. Then you’ve got parents, not only cut out of the loop when it comes to the primary decision-making on medical care, but then you don’t inform them after the fact whether the care has been acquired, putting them in a situation not to even be involved if there are emergency complications. The New York assembly and the state of New York is setting itself up for a massive lawsuit.”

Additionally, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a law in June 2023 making New York a sanctuary state for minors who want to obtain sex-change medical procedures if their state has outlawed them. Parshall Perry said that if the bill passes you may see cases where minors out-of-state run away from home and could then obtain transgender treatments in New York without their parents having a clue.

“There would be absolutely nothing preventing a minor from coming up from the state of Virginia and acquiring a voluntary mastectomy because that young woman feels that she is potentially better suited to being a boy and might be happier in her own skin because of it,” Parshall Perry explained.

“This is criminal and we need to fight this with every fiber of our beings. Our kids are on the line and I’m sorry that this is seen as a conservative issue. I think any normal parent on either side of the aisle that you speak to about it would agree without ever considering this to be political,” Murakhver told the DCNF.

Reyes did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Kate Anderson on February 24, 2024

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