Vermont Family Alliance testifies on H.89 shielding bill

Vermont House Committee on the Judiciary

The following commentary was submitted by Vermont Family Alliance, a parental rights and minor protection advocacy group.

This week, two members of Vermont Family Alliance (VFA) presented testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on H.89, a bill that seeks to shield reproductive health and gender-affirming providers and out-of-state persons seeking care in Vermont from “abusive litigation” from other states in which legislation and judicial judgments regarding these types of care conflict with Vermont’s.

Renee McGuinness, member of VFA, focused testimony on gender-affirming care outlined in the bill, and the lack of international consensus of Standards of Care for youth presenting gender dysphoria; while Carol Kauffman, President of VFA, focused on the lack of safeguards for minors and usurpation of parental rights (at 15:20).

“Vermont Family Alliance is opposed to shielding gender care practitioners from litigation that we consider not necessarily abusive when the Standard of Care for minors in Vermont is exclusively gender-affirming,” stated McGuinness.

“While the State of Vermont has adopted an exclusively gender-affirming approach to care of minors presenting with gender dysphoria and incongruency, studies show there is no international consensus on the Standard of Care … particularly for birth-registered females [presenting in adolescence] — a demographic for which presentation of gender dysphoria has grown dramatically in recent years.”

McGuinness cited the Cass Review Interim Report on The Tavistock Centre gender clinic commissioned by the UK National Health Services (NHS), released in February 2022. The independent study came after a lawsuit against Tavistock gender clinic was filed.

Representative Barbara Rachelson pointed to the American Academy of Pediatrics as having a Standard of Care for youth presenting with gender dysphoria, to which McGuinness reiterated that there is no international standard of care and that, “maybe the American Academy of Pediatrics and all these other United States medical organizations that might have what they have determined as Standards of Care — I think that they need to look at this Interim Report, and take it into consideration, and reevaluate their Standards of Care.”

Representative Angela Arsenault stated she considers H.89, as written, as in alignment with the goal of the Cass Interim Report that, “Every gender-questioning child or young person who seeks help from the NHS must receive the support they need to get on the appropriate pathway for them as an individual.” McGuinness emphasized agreement with “appropriate pathway for each individual” and stated that since Vermont has adopted a gender-affirming approach only, “it excludes all other options. That means all psychiatric care, all medical care is geared toward gender-affirming only — that’s not individual care, that’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ care.”

Kauffman testified, “This bill proposes to define legally protected healthcare activity to include reproductive healthcare services and gender-affirming healthcare for minors. H.89 does not … set an age limit … does not address minor brain development, consent challenges, and protections such as case plans, due process, and court oversight … [and] does not protect parental rights and responsibilities.”

H.89 allows non-custodial adults to be able to consent on behalf of minors as; “persons who provide reproductive health care services or gender-affirming health care service, persons who assist others in obtaining reproductive health care services or gender-affirming health care services …” (p.16).

The bill also allows, “An adult person, a parent, or a legal guardian acting on behalf of a minor… may apply to the Secretary of State to have an address designated by the Secretary serve as the person’s address or the address of the minor…” (p.20)

“This ‘adult person’ is not defined, yet they are given equal rights and responsibilities as parents and legal guardians. Parents cannot continue to be excluded from selecting the adults that will have intimate access to their children,” Kauffman stated.

“H.89 does not set reasonable minor protections regarding these “persons” or “adult”, such as background checks, fingerprinting, registering with the Secretary of State, Vermont Department of Children and Families case plans, or court oversight.

“Thirty-seven states have parental notification laws … Vermont is not one of them. We are watching families flock to parental right states to protect their children,” Kauffman continued.

“Sister states will not come after Vermont because an adult chooses to come to Vermont to access legally protected health care including reproductive health care services and gender-affirming health care services. Prostitution-free states are not known to go after another state’s prostitution rights because an adult upon their own accord left that state to be part of another state’s prostitution market. This matter is entirely different when it comes to trafficking children across state lines.”

Kauffman closed her testimony with, “Vermont’s disregard for parental rights and responsibilities … statutes allowing unknown adults to access minors without parental knowledge, and extending Vermont’s Address Confidentiality Program to minors across our nation and beyond will not meet H.89’s standard of ‘abusive litigation’.”

3 thoughts on “Vermont Family Alliance testifies on H.89 shielding bill

  1. Reps Julia Andrews, Alyssa Black, Daisy Berbeco, Tiffany Bluemle, Erin Brady, Jana Brown, Brian Cina, Mari Cordes, Leonora Dodge, Karen Dolan, Golrang Garofano, Leslie Goldman, Lori Houghton, Kathleen James, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, William Notte, Monique Priestly, Gabrielle Stebbins and Mary Katherine-Stone sponsored this bill as well as H.117: An act relating to preventing death by suicide.

  2. “The ethical hubris and intellectual ineptitude of Vermont’s legislators cannot be over-estimated.”
    Sadly, I couldn’t agree more.

    It’s mindboggling that parents have to fight with school boards and the govt to protect their kids.

    And many kids expressing gender confusion have to be protected from their parents who think it’s a badge of honor to have a trans kid. There needs to be a law that these kids need legal protection FROM their parents.

    I once called a school board chair when I learned that the LBGT (whatever) organization was teaching in public schools. He said he didn’t know anything about it.

  3. H. 89 – – “§ 1160. ADOPTION OF RULES (b) All such rules shall conform with the findings and intent of the General Assembly, as described in section 1150 of this title, and shall be designed with an understanding of the needs and circumstances of Program participants.”

    In other words, as the Prop 5/Article 22 Constitutional Amendment now stipulates –
    “That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course… shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest…”.

    You know – – the compelling State interest in “…All such rules [that] conform with the findings and intent of the General Assembly…. designed with an understanding of the needs and circumstances of Program participants” … whatever those ‘needs and circumstances’ are determined to be at the time.

    The ethical hubris and intellectual ineptitude of Vermont’s legislators cannot be over-estimated.

Comments are closed.