On February 13, 2023, NJ State Senator Zwicker (D) introduced a bill regarding “gender-affirming healthcare” for children. Given the title of the bill, one might be forgiven for thinking that the proposed legislation sought to protect children by affirming that they are perfect just the way they were born, even if they do fit into traditional gender stereotypes. Rather, Senator Zwicker’s bill seeks to amend the “Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act,” to make New Jersey a sanctuary state for children to flee to if one of their parents opposes medical treatment to change their gender appearance.
This Orwellian bill grants New Jersey Courts jurisdiction to decide issues of child custody if one parent flees their home state (ie: kidnaps the child away from the other parent), for the purpose of obtaining “gender-affirming” medical care, which is unavailable in their home state. The bill also prohibits the Governor from extraditing a person charged in another state with child abuse for obtaining or providing such medical treatment and prohibits NJ attorneys and medical facilities from responding to Subpoenas issued from another state regarding such issues. The parent who opposes such experimental, elective procedures for their child will thus be shut out from even obtaining a copy of their child’s medical records. In other words, Senator Zwicker seeks to make our state a magnet for those who wish to perform gender-mutilating surgery on children and quash the rights of those parents throughout the country who oppose it. The full text of the bill may be found in this link https://legiscan.com.
There is a competing bill sponsored by NJ State Senator Durr (R), entitled the “Child Protection and Anti-Mutilation Act.” See, Bill Text: NJ S3076 | 2022-2023 | Regular Session | Introduced | LegiScan. This bill makes it a third-degree crime to perform procedures on minors (under the age of 18) in an attempt to change their birth gender, including:
(1) Prescribing puberty blocking medication to stop or delay normal puberty;
(2) Prescribing testosterone to females;
(3) Prescribing estrogen to males;
(4) Performing surgeries that result in sterilization, including, but not limited to, castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, orchiectomy, and penectomy;
(5) Performing surgeries that artificially construct tissue with the appearance of genitalia that differs from the individual’s sex, including, but not limited to, metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, and vaginoplasty; or
(6) Removing any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue, except in the case of a male circumcision.
The bill exempts treatment for minors who have a medically verifiable disorder, such as being a hermaphrodite (a person who has both male and female sexual organs) or are diagnosed by a physician with a sexual development disorder, confirmed through genetic or biochemical testing.
To date, neither bill has been discussed by the Senate Health Committee. According to Victoria A. Jakelsky, the Director of NJ Parental Rights, it is unlikely that action will be taken by the NJ legislature on these competing bills. However, parents concerned about the possibility of the state attempting to direct medical decisions for their children should take heed. The issue of transgender treatment is likely to remain a hot button issue in the foreseeable future.
In addition, on March 1, 2023, the N.J. Dept. of Education [“DOE”] proposed rule changes to the statute which governs educational programs. Those recommendations may be viewed at this link https://www.nj.gov/. Among other changes to the Administrative Code, the DOE proposes to replace the term “equality” with the term “equity” throughout. The DOE also proposes to eliminate gendered nouns and pronouns in public schools, to utilize more inclusive language than “he” or “she.” The 60-day public comment period will begin soon. Any citizen may voice approval or disapproval of the proposed rules here: Proposed Rules (current) (nj.gov). If you are interested in education issues, do not miss this opportunity to comment on these rule changes, which may shape public education in New Jersey for a generation.