New Washington Law on Parental Rights Sparks Outcry Over ‘Forced Outing’ Concerns

The state law, covering different areas of parental consent and access to counseling records and education, has already faced backlash from multiple organizations. 

Blocking Order Denied

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A new law in Washington state focused on parental rights is moving forward after a judge refused to issue an emergency blocking order. 

The Focus on Parental Rights

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The law known as Initiative 2081, is being challenged by several civil liberty groups and other minority organizations that are worried that the emphasis on parental rights and parental consent will do more harm than good. 

Initiative 2081

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Initiative 2081 essentially expands the already existing parental rights under the eyes of the law. 

What it Means

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Clauses include parental notification before their child is offered medical services (in non-emergency situations) and of any medical treatment provided by the school that could result in a follow-up appointment for the child after school hours. 

Access to Previous Records

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Initiative 2081 also legally allows parents to access and review their children’s counseling and medical records, and expands the parental right to decline sex education.

Possible Expansion

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School districts and youth service organizations are worried about how this legislation’s effect will continue to expand once initiated. 

The Elephant in the Room

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The largest criticism is that minors who have confided in their school support system about their sexual orientation and do not live in a LGBTQ+ accepting home, will essentially be “forced to come out” before they are ready. 

Lifelong Consequences

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Not only does that put the minor in an uncomfortable situation, it could have lifelong consequences depending on the parental reactions. 

Reproductive Rights 

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One of the many critiques is that the law will prevent students who use school run clinics or resources to access birth control and other reproductive services. 

Sensitive Topics of Conversation

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Furthermore, it could harm students that use school counseling services to discuss sensitive matters such as their mental health, gender identity, or previous assaults. 

Right to a Safe Space

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Even if the parents are not the perpetrators of the violence or the issues being discussed in school counseling, most children and teens prefer to share that information with others when they are ready, and not when they are forced.

The Bigger Issue

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The children who are actively being harmed by their home situation will also lose their one safe space to confide in a trusted adult. 

ACLU Steps In

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington was quick to step up to the plate and challenge the legislation. 

Violating the Constitution?

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They are currently arguing that the law violates the constitution by revising or revoking previous laws without explicit announcement. 

The Current Legislation

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Currently, Washington state law protects the privacy of minors seeking care without parental consent, including abortion.

The Shift

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Now, the parents would be notified before the child has access to care, and access previous medical records that they may not have been privy to. 

The Parental “Right to Know”

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Brian Heywood, a conservative figure has been a big proponent of this bill emphasizing that “it’s just saying they have a right to know”. 

Already Approved by Democrats

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Interestingly enough, the bill was overwhelmingly approved by the Democratic-led state Legislature when it came across their desk in March. 

More to Come

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While the civil liberties organizations continue to fight to block the law, state attorney William McGinty remains confident that it does not impeach upon our constitutional rights and will keep moving forward.

The post New Washington State Law on Parental Rights Faces Backlash and ‘Forced Outing’ Concerns first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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