FACT CHECK: Did California Pass A Bill That Would Remove Children That Were Denied ‘Gender-Affirming Care’?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims California passed a law that would remove children from their parents’ custody over objections to “gender-affirming care.”

Verdict: False

The bill protects custody for parents who travel to the state with their child to seek such care. A custody law expert claimed the post was a misinterpretation of the law.

Fact Check:

Three major medical groups, including the American Medical Association, sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate alleged threats of violence aimed at institutions that provide gender-affirming care, Axios reported. Vanderbilt was among the hospitals that were allegedly targeted, the outlet reported.

The Facebook post claims Newsom’s bill purportedly removes children from their parents’ custody over objections to gender-affirming care. “Pure evil,” the post’s caption reads in part.

The claim is incorrect. A keyword search generates the bill, which indicates it provides protections around releasing medical information and custody for parents whose children who travel to California to receive gender-affirming care.

No such claim regarding the removal of children under the law appears on Newsom’s verified social media pages or the governor’s website. (RELATED: Did Kraft Release A Rainbow Mayonnaise Called ‘Real Gayo’?)

“This is a misinterpretation of the law,” custody law expert Scott Altman said of the purported claim in an email to Check Your Fact. “The law’s main purpose is to prevent the prosecution of parents who come to California from other states seeking gender-affirming care for their children.”

Altman explained that “a separate section of the statute grants California courts jurisdiction to hear custody disputes involving such children in circumstances where California might otherwise lack the power to adjudicate such disputes.”

“Child custody is decided based on the best interest of the child standard, which applies to disputes between parents,” Altman added. “Removing a child from its parents’ custody cannot happen without proof of parental unfitness and danger to the child.  Nothing in this statute declares that refusing gender-affirming care constitutes unfitness.”

Check Your Fact has also contacted Newsom and two other custody law experts for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter

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