SADOW: Failed Overrides Leave Kids, Families At Risk

While Louisianans should celebrate the Legislature’s overturning Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of HB 648 that protects children from unwarranted medical interventions, they should mourn the fact that legislators failed in their responsibilities to uphold parents’ constitutional rights to protect children from harm potentially brought about by ideologue educators and politicians.

HB 648 prohibits (from the start of next year) surgical or chemical sex alterations of minors, correctly understanding research shows a significant proportion of children who do this express regrets and that a significant proportion have underlying psychiatric issues that don’t improve even after these interventions or non-medical interventions. The outright ban equips parents to safeguard their children better from attempts outside the family to play to children’s transitory thinking, which because their typically underdeveloped emotional and intellectual capacity is suspect, if not goad them to embark upon irreversible interventions.

HB 466 and HB 81, also vetoed by Edwards, would have afforded other kinds of parental protections to children. HB 466 would have prevented school employees from psychological coaching of students about their gender identity in ways inconsistent with state instructional standards and protect school employees and students from confusion over pronoun use of students, while HB 81 would have covered pronoun usage like HB 466.

Both barely came up short of successful overrides in the House of Representatives, because Democrats Roy Daryl Adams, Chad Brown, Robby Carter, Mack Cormier, and Republicans Mary DuBuisson, Barbara Freiberg, Stephanie Hilferty, Richard Nelson, and Tanner Magee voted against, some of them reversing affirmative votes from when the bills originally passed. In addition, the GOP’s Paula Davis and Joe Stagni strategically absented themselves from the veto session, which counts as negative votes. At present, all but Nelson and Magee seek reelection this fall.

Voters need to take note of their failed performances. Increasingly, ideologically-driven school boards and educators have tried to use schools as instruments to propagate the levelling that the construct of gender implies, maintaining that people can declare themselves whatever they want to be and force the world to follow that regardless of the consequences to themselves and others. It’s part of a larger assault on the idea that universal truths exist that shape our understanding of the human condition and human behavior, including moral judgments derived thereof.

Worse, some schools and elected official attempt this surreptitiously. A growing number of schools countenance illegal and unconstitutional means to hide acts from parents about which they may disapprove, including those naming conventions and steering of children into wanting to adopt gender roles inconsistent with their actual sex that HB 81 and particularly HB 466 would have prevented. This runs counter to jurisprudence first established over two centuries ago as well as existing law recognizing that parents, not the state, have custodianship over their children, and creates a legal fiction that children enjoy a right privacy related to their parents. Nevertheless, special interests actively advocate that schools and school boards flout this with incorrect legal theories, and increasingly more have.

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And this has harmful real-world consequences. Even though these activists allege that not to keep “not supportive” parents in the dark puts children’s safety in peril, recent research reveals that social transition in itself was not associated with better mental health outcomes, and also suggested the possibility that concealment of gender identity, including from parents, may actually contribute to a child’s distress. Policy-makers must recognize that in almost every case a child’s viewing of herself as a gender construct differing from her sex is a symptom of a disease, not the disease.

Fortunately, no known instance as yet has emerged in Louisiana of a school or district with a policy engaging in facilitating on-demand gender affirmation; some states have dozens, even hundreds, of schools affected with nationwide over a thousand districts and nearly 18,000 schools at present known to have such policies. But it’s best not to tempt fate and allow the harmful practice to place a foothold anywhere in the Bayou State, and this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen in individual classrooms without parents’ consent.

Passing a bill like HB 466 as soon as possible obviates this troubling situation. If to do so means electorates denying troublesome and unwise legislators a return to Baton Rouge, so be it.

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