California lawmakers are racing an end-of-the-month deadline to pass a bill that would use taxpayer dollars to fund transgender healthcare services for children and adults.
The bill provides grants to hospitals and clinics that provide hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgeries and are affiliated with organizations led by transgender activists.
The California Senate Appropriations Committee passed the "Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund," AB 2218 on Aug. 10 with a 5-2 vote. Lawmakers are pushing to approve it before Aug. 31 which marks the end of the 2020 session.
Assembly member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), one of the bill's co-authors, says it provides "critical medical and direct supportive services for transgender, gender non-conforming and/or intersex people, otherwise know as TGI."
He said California's transgender community faces obstacles in receiving safe and non-discriminatory healthcare and the bill will fund programs where "TGI-identified people can receive safe, competent and inclusive health care."
But some California doctors are speaking out against the measure because of concerns about the medical risks for children, like infertility. They're also worried about a loss of treatment control for healthcare professionals.
Dr. James Grisolia, a San Diego neurologist and California state director of the American Academy of Medical Ethics told CBN News that this issue is most troubling for children.
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"It very explicitly says that the funds are going to be going to trans organizations who will then be working with medical clinics that they choose so the transgender organizations will be in the driver's seat on the treatment of children," Grisolia said.
"The problem with that is up to 85 percent of children think that they were born in the wrong body. They'll actually change their minds by the time they get to adulthood so we don't think it makes sense to treat a temporary problem with hormones and surgery that cause permanent harm," he said.
Dr. Michael Laidlaw, a Rocklin-based pediatric endocrinologist told state lawmakers that there's no clear research that supports improved mental health outcomes for transgender adults who take hormones and go forward with gender reassignment surgeries.
And Dr. James Dobson, president of the James Dobson Family Institute, said AB 2218 "supports gender mutilation and sterilization" and celebrates "acts of cruelty."
In a statement to the California Family Council, Dr. Dobson denounced the bill and the medical facilities that support it.
"These so-called 'gender clinics' use puberty blockers on pre-pubescent children in order to prevent them from experiencing puberty," he said. "If a child doesn't go through this natural stage of development, he or she will likely be sterile for life, a medical fact that many of these clinics expressly admit."
Dobson says the bill promotes experimentation on innocent children and vulnerable adults.
"Experimenting on vulnerable children and adults is not just unethical; it is morally repugnant," he noted. "It is beyond reprehensible that our government officials voted to fund this evil assault on children and adults who are made in the image of Almighty God."
"These hurting individuals need our compassion and care—not a cocktail of drugs and disfiguring surgeries that could well cause irreversible harm to their bodies," Dobson concluded.
Several Republican state officials have criticized the bill, urging parents not to overlook the reality of these life-altering experiments and the adverse effects it will have on their children.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa said, "Our society has quickly 'normalized' gender experimentation under the guise of an 'accepting' political ideology rather than biological reality. Even more troubling, children are undergoing experimental treatments, like being injected with puberty-blocking hormones and cross-sex hormones, which have irreversible consequences, such as permanent sterility."
"It's our job as a society, and especially parents, to protect them from making life-altering gender experimentation decisions that they may likely later regret," he added.
"California should not be setting aside taxpayer funds to pay for drugs or treatments that risk the ability of children and minors to someday have biological children of their own," said California Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga).