Letter: ‘The sole purpose of this bill is to remove parents from their child’s life’

Vancouver resident Julia Dawn Seaver offers her support for the ‘Reject 5599’ effort

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

Every January, legislators gather in Olympia and dream up new ways to get between parents and their children.  This year, they came up with a doozy.  SB 5599 allows the state to keep the location of a child in a shelter or host home a secret from his or her parents if they’re seeking “protected health care” – an abortion or gender treatments.

Julia Dawn Seaver
Julia Dawn Seaver

Current law allows the state to hide a child’s location if there’s a compelling reason – circumstances that would subject the child to abuse or neglect. Now, a child’s mere desire will keep parents away from them.  No evidence of wrongdoing is necessary.  There is no due process for parents. Their child is just gone. 

Proponents of the bill use semantics to say critics’ fears are unfounded.  They claim there is no provision for the state to take children away from their parents, that parents don’t lose custody.  What do you call it when your child is gone, and the state knows where they are but won’t tell you?

At a news conference, Gov. Jay Inslee said, “If a young person is totally estranged from their parents, has no meaningful relationship, we need someone to care for that child.”  Totally estranged with no meaningful relationship? That provision is nowhere to be found in the bill. A child is considered a runaway when they’ve spent one night away from home.  That means they could spend the night at a friend’s house, decide not to go back home and the state will help facilitate that.

Proponents point out that the state will work to reunify the family, but there are no guidelines to specify what must happen for a child to be returned home or who makes that decision.

They also claim children have a right to gender treatment.  There are many reasons why children shouldn’t be transitioned, but children 13 and older already have those rights in Washington, and repealing SB 5599 will do nothing to change that. The only question is, will those treatments be extended to children under 13 since there is no specified age restriction in SB 5599?  Legislators rejected an amendment that would have put an age restriction on the bill.

The sole purpose of this bill is to remove parents from their child’s life. The result will be vulnerable, confused children going through life-altering treatments while being cared for by strangers, deprived of the care and protection of their biggest advocates – the parents who know and love them most.  SB 5599 is an assault not only on parents’ rights but on the rights of children.

Referendum 101 has been filed to repeal the bill.  Organizers need 200,000 signatures by July 22 in order to put it on the ballot for a vote of the people.  Sign the petition and then vote to Reject 5599 in November.  Find signing locations at https://www.reject5599.com/

Julia Dawn Seaver

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