ACLU vs. Parents: The Battle for Control Over Children’s Medical Decisions

AP Photo/John Hanna

For an organization that purports to protect civil liberties, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) doesn’t seem to have much concern for safeguarding parental rights. The group is currently engaged in a national campaign to push laws that would infringe on the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit.

The ACLU is reportedly engaged in a battle against parental consent laws across the United States, arguing that children should have the ability to make significant medical decisions without involving their parents. Critics, such as Heritage Action for America, warn that if the ACLU succeeds, parents will lose their role in their children’s lives regarding critical matters like abortion and genital-mutilating surgeries.

The ACLU-backed constitutional amendment in Ohio is a focal point of this struggle, as reported by the Washington Examiner. Critics have expressed concerns that the proposal’s broad language would allow children of any age to obtain abortions and “gender-affirming” surgeries without parental consent or knowledge. Similar initiatives are also being pursued in Oregon. Opponents argue that these measures undermine parental oversight of their child’s medical and sexual decisions and could potentially pave the way for court decisions against parental rights.

The ACLU has a history of challenging parental consent laws and advocating for children’s sexual autonomy. They are involved in lawsuits in Missouri and Tennessee seeking access to transgender drugs and surgeries for children. The organization has also supported efforts to teach young children about sexual orientation and gender identity without parental consent or knowledge.

Critics, such as Terry Schilling, the President of the American Principles Project, view the ACLU’s nationwide push as being primarily focused on sexual liberation for children rather than solely barring parental consent. They argue that broadly worded amendments like those in Ohio and Oregon could potentially enable children to consent to sexual activity, expanding beyond sex-related medical decisions. Concerns are raised that such amendments may lead to the reinterpretation of laws and the legalization of pedophilia in the future.

“They want to liberate children sexually,” Schilling told the Washington Examiner. “They say children are sexual from birth, and they actually think that pedophilia laws and age-of-consent laws are oppression.”

“They teach children in schools how to have sex; they teach children how to get sex changes,” he explained. “You’re telling me the party that’s pushing these amendments and saying that children can consent to sex changes doesn’t think they can consent to sexual activity? What’s the difference?”

“These amendments are pedophilia amendments,” Schilling cautioned.

Overall, the ACLU’s fight against parental consent laws is generating controversy and sparking debates over parental rights, children’s autonomy, and the potential consequences of broad constitutional amendments. Proponents of these measures argue that they are necessary for protecting transgender children, noting that many parents would not approve of helping their child “transition” to the opposite sex. Others say that some parents might emotionally or physically abuse their children if they find out they are struggling with gender dysphoria.

This argument is a red herring. Each state already has laws related to mandated reporters – individuals who are required by law to notify the authorities if a child tells them they are being abused or if they even see evidence of abuse without the child telling them. These include teachers, social workers, medical care professionals, and others.

Opponents argue that these measures undermine the parent-child relationship and open the door to a range of unintended consequences, and reject the notion that children should have the rights and decision-making autonomy in matters related to their own bodies. The ongoing legal battles and ideological clashes are likely to continue shaping the discourse around parental consent and children’s rights in the United States.

Groups like the ACLU are not going to stop trying to wrest control from parents over their children. The situation is already bad as it is, with school districts employing policies requiring educators and school staff to lie to parents about their children embracing transgenderism. This fight is going to be a tough one for those who seek to preserve parental rights.

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of


Trending on RedState Videos