Earlier this year, some states made it illegal or very difficult to provide gender-affirming care to children. In response, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 107 into law on Sept. 29. The law is designed to protect families who flee to California from states that criminalize gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Since its passage, some social media users and politicians, such as Congressman Troy Nehls (R-TX), have claimed that the law allows doctors to perform “gender transition surgeries” on children from other states without parental consent.
Does a California law allow doctors to perform gender-affirming surgeries without parental consent?
- Senate Bill 107
- State Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), author of SB 107
- Transgender Law Center
- Rebecca Gudeman, senior director of health for the National Center for Youth Law
- University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Student Health Services
No, a California law does not allow doctors to perform gender-affirming surgeries without parental consent.
WHAT WE FOUND
SB 107 is a law that amends various sections of California’s civil code. The law focuses solely on how California law enforcement should handle out-of-state investigations. It neither allows doctors to perform gender-affirming surgeries without parental consent nor does it address the topic at all. In fact, SB 107 does not contain the word “surgery” anywhere in its text.
“California law requires parent or guardian consent for gender-affirming care for minors,” said Rebecca Gudeman, senior director of health for the National Center for Youth Law. “Senate Bill 107 does not change any laws or policies related to who may consent for health care in California.”
Gudeman told VERIFY that Congressman Nehls’ claim that SB 107 allows doctors to perform “gender transition surgeries” on children from other states without parental consent is 100% inaccurate.
“Senate Bill 107 attempts to reaffirm parental rights to make medical decisions for their child,” Gudeman said. “What Senate Bill 107 says is if a parent brings their child to California for gender-affirming care, and exercises their parental right to consent to that care, California will honor that decision.”
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In most cases, youth under the age of 18 in California must obtain the permission of their parents or guardian to access any medical treatment, including treatment for gender transition, according to the Transgender Law Center. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but none are related to gender-affirming care.
SB 107 also provides guidance for child custody cases where one parent lives in California and the other in a state where gender-affirming care is restricted. According to the law, California courts will have “temporary emergency jurisdiction,” meaning they have the authority to hear and make decisions on child custody cases based on the facts of that case.
The law does not require the state’s courts to side with the parent or guardian living in California or the one who supports gender-affirming care if the two sides disagree.