Source: Veronika Kyrylenko

Minors in California can now use their parents’ insurance to receive abortions, cross-sex hormones, and puberty blockers without their parents knowing of such treatments.

Governor Gavin Newsom, declaring California a “reproductive freedom state,” has signed two bills that further expand abortion access, erode families, and potentially endanger children.

The first bill, A.B. 1184, prohibits insurance companies from disclosing to their policyholders — usually parents — certain “sensitive” medical services their children are receiving. These include “all health care services related to mental or behavioral health, sexual and reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, substance use disorder, gender affirming care, and intimate partner violence,” per the bill.

The law that is set to take effect in July 2022 requires insurance companies to “accommodate requests for confidential communication of medical information regardless of whether there is a situation involving sensitive services or a situation in which disclosure would endanger the individual.”

It is also specified that the healthcare service plan or health insurer must direct all communications to the “protected individual,” i.e. the child seeking “sensitive services.” If they try to contact parents and ask if it is OK for Mary to have an abortion, or if they can prescribe estrogen to Johnny, they will face criminal charges.  

The California Family Council (CFC) pointed out that in California, minors can already consent to all of these “sensitive treatments,” except for “gender-reassignment” surgeries, after the age of 12 under certain conditions, and consent to abortions at any age. 

The organization’s president, Jonathan Keller, said the bill would prevent parents from protecting their children from “irreversible medical procedures like abortion and sterilizing hormone treatments.”

“Parents are responsible for the health and safety of their sons and daughters. Even the best-intentioned medical providers cannot replace the role of mothers and fathers,” Keller added.

Nine California Senators tried to plead with Newsom not to sign the bill. In the letter sent to the governor, the lawmakers argued the state should be “encouraging parents and family to be involved in their children’s lives, not removing them further from it.” They added that the parents and caregivers would be put “in the impossible position of being financially responsible for bills they did not incur and cannot verify as being legitimate.” Most of all, such legislation would limit parents’ abilities and rights “to protect their children by removing them from sensitive conversations as early as 12 years old.”

Pro-life site Life Action warns about another potential danger of withholding such crucial information from parents. Noting that parental-consent laws are highly popular in America, the outlet points out that

Giving children the ability to hide an abortion from their parents is, in actuality, extremely dangerous, as it can help to cover up sexual abuse and trafficking. If a young child is attempting to get an abortion without parental knowledge or consent, that should be a red flag for potential abuse.

And it is not just a theory, since eight Planned Parenthood locations in six different states have been caught expressing willingness to cover up sexual abuse of minors. Planned Parenthood has been exposed on several occasions in helping sex-trafficking ring leaders, per Life Action.

Reportedly, Planned Parenthood sponsored the bill and then “applauded” Newsom for signing it. The abortion provider stated that “California must continue to build upon its status as a Reproductive Freedom state, and these bills are a step in the right direction.” PP also promised to continue its work with Governor Newsom, legislative leaders, and public organizations to promote “increased access and affordability of sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion.”

Newsom took to Twitter to celebrate the bill, and said he supported it to contradict the Texas Heartbeat Act that restricts most of abortions after six weeks of gestation. He claimed that, unlike in Texas and other conservative states where women are “stripped of their fundamental reproductive rights,” California is working to “defend and extend” them. “We are a reproductive freedom state — and proud of it,” Newsom claimed.

The second bill, A.B. 1356, updates an existing law that makes it a crime to share personal information or photos of an abortion patient or provider online. The violators would face a year in jail and/or a $10,000 fine. If bodily injury of the exposed person is involved, the fine can increase to $50,000. The bill criminalizes “intimidation” of anyone within 100 feet of an abortion facility. Filming, photographing, videotaping, or recording them near an abortion facility is strictly prohibited.

The CFC said while the bill protects those receiving and performing abortions, the pro-life sidewalk counselors who try to educate people of alternatives to abortion and videotape their work for their own protection are not mentioned in the legislation.

Kathleen Domingo, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, said that while California will likely to continue passing pro-abortion laws, people should not give up and combat them by supporting pro-life alternatives. Domingo said:

That truly is the work that is needed. We can’t necessarily combat these laws that keep compounding abortion in California, but we can do the grassroots efforts that we have been doing for almost 50 years in California, of helping people one at a time and saving families one at a time.