California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed legislation that will block state officials from enforcing other states’ laws that hinder access to transgender medical procedures and drugs.
The new law, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, passed the legislature in late August. It is a response to recent efforts from some red states to ban transgender procedures and drugs for minors, and effectively sets up California as a sanctuary for those seeking to escape those laws.
One such law in Arkansas that is facing a court challenge bans “gender transition procedures,” including surgeries or drugs, for children under 18. Texas, meanwhile, is in a legal fight after its Attorney General Ken Paxton declared “certain medical and chemical procedures – several of which have the effect of sterilization” to be child abuse.
Under the California law, state agencies and law enforcement organizations are now banned from cooperating with subpoenas and other out-of-state legal actions on these matters. It shields both children and parents seeking to obtain or provide those transgender services from legal consequences.
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“Parents know what’s best for their kids, and they should be able to make decisions around the health of their children without fear,” Newsom said in a Sept. 29 signing statement. “We must take a stand for parental choice. That is precisely why I am signing Senate Bill l07.”
According to State Sen. Wiener, the law prohibits enforcement of other state laws that allow a child to be removed from parents or guardians who allow their child to receive “gender-affirming health care.” It would also bar California from complying with out-of-state subpoenas seeking information on families who seek that care in California, and put criminal arrest warrants against people who violate these out-of-state laws on the “lowest priority for law enforcement.”
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Opponents of transgender procedures said the new law obliterates state boundaries and will lead more children to be harmed.
“Newsom’s arrogance is no longer just a threat to California. It’s a threat to every Governor’s authority, every state’s boundaries, every parent’s rights and responsibilities, and—worst of all—to every child,” the conservative group Family Policy Alliance tweeted. “Lawmakers around the country must rally together to protect the children in their state from falling victim to Newsom’s kidnapping scheme.”
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Newsom’s latest decision comes amid speculation that he might be a Democratic presidential candidate in the event President Biden does not seek reelection. The governor has been locking horns with vocal red-state leaders, including Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, on issues ranging form immigration to guns to abortion.
But according to FOX 2 KTVU, Newsom said this week that he does not plan to run for president.