Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill Thursday making California a sanctuary state for child gender surgery.
The new law restricts California officials and health providers from cooperating with out-of-state attempts to stop a child from getting gender health services, which could include puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or gender surgery.
“In California we believe in equality and acceptance. We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need — including gender-affirming care,” Newsom said in a signing message.
“Parents know what’s best for their kids, and they should be able to make decisions around the health of their children without fear. We must take a stand for parental choice,” the governor added.
The law prohibits health care providers from releasing medical information about a child receiving gender health services in response to a criminal or civil action from a state where such care is restricted.
The bill also bans police from arresting or extraditing someone based on another state’s restrictions for providing gender health services to a child. The law also prohibits California officials from enforcing another state’s order that a child be removed from parents who allow the child to receive gender health services.
Critics have sounded the alarm over several clauses in the bill that deal with custody of children who are receiving gender health services.
The law authorizes a court to take “temporary jurisdiction because a child has been unable to obtain gender-affirming health care.”
The law also prohibits a court from “considering the taking or retention of a child from a person who has legal custody of the child, if the taking or retention was for obtaining gender-affirming health care or mental health care.”
The bill, Senate Bill 107, was sponsored by state Senator Scott Wiener (D), who represents San Francisco.
In 2020, Wiener sponsored another law Newsom signed that says adults who have oral or anal sex with a child ten years younger than them may not have to register as sex offenders, leaving that decision to a judge. The law supposedly addressed discrimination against LGBT people.
Before his bill was passed, Wiener acknowledged that the Constitution limits what they are able to do with this bill.
“We may have limits under the U.S. Constitution, but we are going to go right up to the edge of what we’re able to do to protect them and say, ‘Unless we are absolutely forced to send you back, we are not going to send you back,’” Wiener said.
Wiener is a long-time advocate on LGBT issues and has participated in several of San Francisco’s LGBT celebrations over the years.
Conservative groups have slammed the bill as infringing on the rights of parents to protect their children from harmful medical procedures.
“SB 107 is one of the gravest threats to parental rights in recent years,” said Jonathan Keller, president of California Family Council.
“If Governor Newsom foolishly signs this measure, California should brace for lawsuits. Other states’ Attorneys General will not sit idly by as California steals children from parents who don’t want them sterilized with these trans-treatments.”
The law may indeed face legal challenges, since federal requirements say states must recognize other states’ laws when residents travel.
Earlier this year, California established itself as a sanctuary state for abortion. Newsom signed a slate of abortion bills designed to strengthen protections around abortion in the state.
One of the bills prohibits California police from cooperating with other states’ investigations related to abortions.