A conservative legal group is suing Washington State Governor Jay Inslee over a controversial law that allows shelters to hide runaway children from their parents without any allegations of abuse. The law also permits shelters to provide taxpayer-funded elective abortions and sex-change treatments to minors without parental knowledge or consent. Despite opposition from nearly 4,700 individuals and Republican lawmakers, Governor Inslee signed the pro-abortion measure into law.
The newly enacted legislation permits children as young as 13 to stay in licensed youth shelters without parental knowledge, even in the absence of signs of abuse. Previously, state law required shelters to notify parents within 72 hours. Shelters are not required to notify parents if the child has a “compelling reason” to seek such services, including “placement in a host home to receive protected health care services.” This includes elective abortions and sex-change surgeries and hormones.
The America First Legal group has filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the law creates an incentive for minors who disagree with their parents on “gender-affirming care” to run away and receive medical procedures without parental knowledge or consent. The group highlights the violation of parental rights and the potential for minors to undergo life-altering procedures without appropriate oversight.
Proponents of parental rights and opponents of the law argue that it wrongly assumes that parents who do not affirm a child’s desires are abusive. They contend that parents have the primary responsibility to raise and guide their children, and that the government should not interfere in these matters. Opposition to the law has come from diverse groups, including conservative, pro-life parents, and even parents from the LGBTQ community.
Efforts to repeal the legislation are underway, with some representatives planning to turn the issue into a referendum for the November election. The law is set to take effect at the end of July, but there is a possibility to put it on hold until a statewide vote if enough valid signatures, approximately 162,000, are gathered.
Governor Inslee has consistently supported pro-abortion measures, signing four additional pro-abortion bills into law in April. Washington state law permits abortions for any reason up to birth and obliges state taxpayers to fund elective abortions. In 2020, a total of 16,050 unborn babies were aborted in the state, according to the state health department.