The California Senate had an intense debate over a bill now sitting on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk affecting the ability of parents to oversee the medical and counseling treatment received by their minor children. Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) authored AB 1940 to fund healthcare clinics within K-12 public schools. That might sound good until you realize many of the primary health care services the bill funds, such as mental health care, abortions, birth control, and treatment for sexual assault and drug abuse, don’t require parental consent. Abortions and birth control don’t require parental consent for minors at any age, and the other services listed above don’t require a parent’s permission once the child turns 12.
Senate Republicans were particularly concerned about these onsite health centers in light of a bill passed last year, AB 1184, requiring insurance companies to hide from parents “sensitive” services their children are receiving, including abortions and treatment for sexual assaults, gender transition drugs and surgeries, and mental health treatment. This bill was sponsored by Planned Parenthood. The abortion giant stands to benefit from AB 1940 as well. Just over three years ago, Planned Parenthood announced plans to open up 50 “Wellbeing Centers” in Los Angeles high schools. Who knows how many more clinics they could open in schools across the state if the Governor approves this health clinics bill?
Several Republican Senators stood up on the floor of the Senate to explain their deep concern with AB 1940. “We are facilitating health clinics now that are going to be comprehensive in health care, after passing a law last year that prohibits our parents and caregivers from knowing what services, medical services, medications our children are receiving … . Think very deeply about what that could mean,” Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Redlands) told her fellow Senators during the Senate floor debate on AB 1940. “That means that state, our school boards, can actually facilitate medical treatment for children with absolutely no knowledge or engagement from the parents. We are basically emancipating our children with their healthcare in the state of California. As a parent and future grandparent, I am extremely concerned about where we are going.”
Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) complained that the bill facilitated abortions for minors. These on-site health care centers are to provide “comprehensive health care” that is “age-appropriate,” she said. “We all know that this legislative body has passed legislation that says appropriate age healthcare is 12-year-olds, for them to be taken off campus for an abortion without their parent’s knowledge.”
Governor candidate and Republican Senator from Redding, Brian Dahle said bills like this explain the state’s declining public school enrollment. “This is why thousands of parents are taking their kids out of public schools, because it is turning into a health facility without our knowledge, and it is wrong,” Dahle said. “[Parents] do understand one thing, that this legislature is moving in a direction to take away the control of your child and letting somebody else administer their healthcare at school.”
Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Hills) suggested an amendment to AB 1940 that she believed would satisfy the parental rights concerns. But she knew the Democrats would never allow it. “We have taken parents out of the equation. This would be a great bill if you put in an amendment that allowed parents to be part of the consultation before any medication or medical treatment was provided a child,” Bates said. “When children have mental health issues it requires very, very specific treatment from a psychologist that is trained specifically in pediatric mental health issues. … it would be very important for a parent to be advised of.” We have lots of health services out there. “Putting something in our schools that eliminates a parent from connection to that is … I can’t comprehend that frankly from my generation.”
Senator Melissa Melendez (R-Murrieta) challenged the role state government has in the raising of children. “I have heard a lot of comments today about what people want and honestly what I want is for politicians to keep their nose out of our business and the business of our kids,” she told her colleagues. “It is not the government’s role to raise our children. It is not the government’s role to decide what healthcare is best for them. Parents need to be involved. Parents need to be the ultimate decision maker regarding these health decisions for their children.”
What if your child is thinking about “self-harm or suicide?” Melendez asked. “Wouldn’t you want to know that that is going on in your child’s life so that you could partner with the healthcare professionals to help your child? Would you appreciate it if you were cut out of the loop and didn’t even know that your child was thinking that?”
One of the longest-serving senators in the Senate, Jim Nielsen (R-Chico), reminded legislators how California has been attacking parental rights for years. “Year after year thought my entire tenure here we have entertained and passed many bills that eliminate parents from the raising of their own children,” Nielsen said. Government employees and politicians think they know what is best for kids. “The blood bond of having a child, of raising a child is so superior than the abstract concept ‘we know what is best.'”
In the end, AB 1940 passed the Senate on a party-line vote 31 to 9, and the Assembly 59 to 11, with 10 not voting. Newsom has until the end of September to veto the bill or it will go into effect next year providing startup grants between $300,000 and $850,000 to start school health clinics.
Contact Governor Gavin Newsom and tell him to veto AB 1940: Click here for contact details.