A League Not Their Own

Chances are, when you take your child to the doctor, what you want and expect is medical advice. Nearly everyone is prepared to defer to the pediatrician's judgment on how best to treat an ear infection or strep throat.   What we're not asking for is their advice on one of the most important and controversial social issues of the day. Yet, the folks who treat our children are insisting on giving us that advice anyway.   The issue I'm referring to is the adoption of children by same-sex couples. Currently, only seven states, plus the District of Columbia, permit such adoptions.   Needless to say, gay rights activists, whose goal it is to put same-sex unions on the same social and legal footing as traditional marriage, are urging other jurisdictions to follow these states' lead.   And this month, they gained a powerful ally: The American Academy of Pediatrics. In its journal, Pediatrics, the organization issued a public policy statement that went beyond the usual guidance on parenting. The statement said, "Children who are born to or adopted by one member of a same-sex couple deserve the security of two legally recognized parents."   Dr. Joseph Hagan, chairman of the committee that drafted the statement, told the New York Times that the policy is "really about the needs of children." Dr. Ellen Perrin, who served as a consultant to the committee, argued that the "children whose parents happen to be gay or lesbian were lacking some of the security that other children can assume."   Statements like these would be hilarious if they weren't so obviously disingenuous. Of course, these children are lacking in security! But it's not, as the Academy maintains, because it's uncertain whether they will receive Social Security or health care benefits. It's because many of them are living in households that are incapable of providing a male father and female mother role model.   What's more, as David Blankenhorn of the Institute of American Values told USA Today, "we're going to find out with the same-sex couples just what we found out with divorce. The children are at higher risk for problems."   If the Academy is truly concerned about the security of our kids, then it should forget about same-sex adoptions and urge its members to do everything possible to ensure that all kids grow up in households with a mom and a dad. That, more than anything, is what is best for our kids.   But of course, none of this is about what's best for kids. It's about a social and political agenda. When the Times tells us that the Academy's policy is expected to "carry weight in courts and legislatures" because of the "wide respect" enjoyed by the group, they are describing real goals of the policy.   Christians cannot sit idly by and watch activists use the respect pediatricians have earned to further an agenda that has nothing to do with pediatrics. We ought to point out to our neighbors and friends that this is a time when not following the doctor's orders is the best way to go -- especially when the doctor insists that we ignore what is best for our kids.         Sources:   Erica Goode, "Group Backs Gays Who Seek to Adopt a Partner's Child," New York Times, 4 February 2002.   Marilyn Elias, "Doctors back gay 'co-parents,'" USA Today, 4 February 2002.   Abstract from "Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents," Pediatrics, February 2002.   To learn more about the current bioethics debate, get your Bioethics in the New Century Resource kit.         "A Christian Vision for the Biotech Century": The Wilberforce Forum and the Council for Biotechnology Policy is sponsoring a one-day conference, on February 22, 2002, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Holiday Inn Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.   Registration is $95 per person; $85 for Wilberforce Forum members; or $50 for full-time students.   Speakers include: Dean Clancy, Nigel Cameron, Paige Cunningham, C. Ben Mitchell, David Prentice, David Stevens, Bill Saunders, and Richard Doerflinger. Register online. Call 1-800-371-6209 for more information.


Chuck Colson


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