The group’s name certainly makes them sound like an above-board and by-the-book group of physicians concerned with sound science.
But scratch the surface and you find the group is actually a relatively small conservative advocacy group well outside the mainstream of modern medicine whose dedication to science takes a backseat to their anti-LGBT political agenda.
Sound like an unfair characterization?
Take it from the group itself.
Can any pediatrician join the American College of Pediatricians? Not quite.
“Membership is open to qualifying healthcare professionals who share the College’s Mission, Vision and Values.”
What mission, vision and values might those be?
“The Mission of the American College of Pediatricians is to enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and well-being. To this end, we recognize the basic father-mother family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for childhood development, but pledge our support to all children, regardless of their circumstances.”
Huh. So, what about children from families with gay and lesbian parents?
Well, the ACP was formed by doctors who split from the much larger and widely respected American Academy of Pediatrics in 2002. Why? Because the academy issued a statement supporting gay and lesbian adoption. So, LGBT parents are a no-go for the group.
“Really?” you might be asking yourself. “Even though gay and lesbian adoption is now legal in all fifty states, along with gay marriage?”
Well, the group fought same-sex marriage as well. They filed a brief in the case that would eventually lead to its legalization nationwide, arguing marriage equality was a threat to “the stability of families, the safety of children and our constitutional republic.”
That is, indeed, a pretty out there position for…you know, doctors.
But that’s just the beginning. The group isn’t wild about gay parents, sure.
But what about gay children?
Well, it believes gay children just need reparative therapy to become straight people. That’s a position so out there it’s roundly rejected by mainstream science running the spectrum from psychology to biology.
The group relies on research from and is affiliated with groups like the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, rebranded in recent years as the NARTH Institute. Their research – which fuels a dwindling and discredited “ex-gay” movement – has been condemned as junk science by doctors more concerned with science than political ideology.
If all this doesn’t give you some idea of the ACP’s core values, their mission statement explicitly spells them out.
“The American College of Pediatricians:
- Recognizes that there are absolutes and scientific truths that transcend relative social considerations of the day.
- Recognizes that good medical science cannot exist in a moral vacuum and pledges to promote such science.
- Recognizes the fundamental mother-father family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for the development and nurturing of children and pledges to promote this unit.
- Recognizes the unique value of every human life from the time of conception to natural death and pledges to promote research and clinical practice that provides for the healthiest outcome of the child from conception to adulthood.
- Recognizes the essential role parents play in encouraging and correcting the child and pledges to protect and promote this role.
- Recognizes the physical and emotional benefits of sexual abstinence until marriage and pledges to promote this behavior as the ideal for adolescence.
- Recognizes that health professionals caring for children must maintain high ethical and scientific standards and pledges to promote such practice.
- Recognizes the vital role the College has in promoting quality education for parents, physicians, and other health professionals.”
So…only anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia pediatricians need apply, as well – irrespective of the legality of those medical procedures.
Also, members must reject years’ worth of studies that show abstinence only programs don’t work.
In summary: This group is consistently on the losing end of major societal shifts. They are so dismissed by mainstream science and so often discredited that even the authors of the studies they use condemn them as duplicitous political hacks.
They’ve even been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which works with the FBI to identify such groups.
Odd bedfellows for Gov. Pat McCrory and the leaders of the N.C. General Assembly, who still insist HB2 is not about targeting LGBT people.