Washington State could soon require youth shelters to hide minors who run away from home in order to obtain an abortion or sex change operations without parental consent.
The Washington House of Representatives this week passed Senate Bill 5599, which would eliminate a law that requires youth shelters to alert parents when their child checks in, unless there is evidence the child is being abused. The proposal would widen the scope of what constitutes a "compelling reason" to conceal a minor to include youths seeking sex change operations or "reproductive health services," like abortion. The bill, which the Senate passed in March, now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D.) desk for a signature.
This is the latest blue state effort to help minors obtain controversial medical procedures without parental consent. Lawmakers in Oregon, Minnesota, and Colorado have all passed legislation designed to make their states "safe havens" for youths seeking sex changes or abortions. California Democrats recently advanced a bill that would allow children as young as 12 check into a group home without parent consent.
These measures come as transgender activists, social media personalities, and therapists encourage minors to sever ties with their parents if they don’t support medical transitions. Democratic state Rep. Tana Senn issued a similar call to "youth across our nation" during the House’s vote on the bill.
"I am saying tonight to them that I see you, that I affirm you, that I hear you, that I love you," Senn said from the House floor. "With this passage of the bill we are saying that Washington State does too."
Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh pushed back on this rosy picture, noting that he’s heard from "thousands of concerned Washingtonians about this attack on parents’ rights and families."
"Sponsors and supporters of this bill have overstepped the constitution and case law in promoting this policy, which would allow state bureaucrats to hide minor children from custodial parents and legal guardians," Walsh said, adding that among the bill’s "many flaws," it assumes "families that don’t ‘affirm’ a child’s short-term desires are being abusive."
The bill’s author, state Sen. Marko Liias, has justified his proposal by claiming that puberty blockers and sex change procedures have "been proven to lower rates of adverse mental health outcomes, build self-esteem, and improve the overall quality of life for transgender and gender diverse youth."
Liias cites in support of his claim a Biden administration fact sheet, which draws on data from transgender activist groups like the Trevor Project. But research increasingly shows that while people may feel a slight mood boost when they begin taking hormones, most of those gains disappear after three years.