Illinois measure would make parents abusers for denying children sex changes

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A parents’ rights group is pushing back against a proposed bill equating denying children things like puberty blockers to child abuse. 

State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, proposed House Bill 4876 that would amend the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to say an “abused child” is one whose parents deny abortion services, or “gender-affirming services.” 

Awake Illinois founder Shannon Adcock launched a campaign against the bill. 

“In Illinois, parents who are considered child abusers can lose custody of their children if in this case they do not affirm transgender drugs, surgical procedures such as penis and breast removal, this is incredibly radical,” Adcock told The Center Square. 

Stava-Murray didn’t respond to requests for comment. In response to comments on Facebook, she said “trans kids go through irreversible damage from a puberty that doesn’t match their gender identity every day in this country.

“To ignore that damage further harms trans children and puts them at risk for the mental health issues you purport to care about,” she said to one commenter. “Giving access to lifesaving gender affirming care should be the standard.”

The bill does not define “gender-affirming services,” but refers to the definition in the Reproductive Health Act. A measure Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed last year amending the Reproductive Health Act doesn’t define “gender-affirming services,” but does describe the treatment of gender dysphoria “or the affirmation of an individual’s gender identity or gender expression.”

Treatment for gender dysphoria or “affirmation of an individual’s gender identity or gender expression” under the amended act says it includes “all supplies, care, and services of a medical, behavioral health, mental health, surgical, psychiatric, therapeutic, diagnostic, preventative, rehabilitative, or supportive nature that is not unlawful under the laws of this State.” 

Adcock noted Stava-Murray’s bill doesn’t just include denial of abortion, hormone therapy or other gender surgeries that could trigger child abuse or neglect charges, it also includes denial of “primary medical care” like prescription drugs or vaccines. 

“And if a minor opts for this, and you as a parent deny that, that means that you are considered an abuser of a child,” she said. 

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