American College of Pediatricians
|Focus(es)||Formed in opposition to the American Academy of Pediatrics|
|Motto||"The Best For Children"|
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a socially conservative association of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals in the United States. The College was founded in 2002 by a group of pediatricians including Joseph Zanga, a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as a protest against the AAP's support for adoption by gay couples. The ACPeds website reports members in 47 states of the United States and five other countries, but does not disclose the total member count. The group's membership has been estimated at between 60 and 200 members.
Zanga has described ACP as a group "with Judeo-Christian, traditional values that is open to pediatric medical professionals of all religions who hold true to the group's core beliefs: that life begins at conception; and that the traditional family unit, headed by a different-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children." The organization's view on parenting is at odds with the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical and child welfare authorities, which hold that sexual orientation has no correlation with the ability to be a good parent and to raise healthy and well-adjusted children. A number of prominent researchers have complained that ACPeds mischaracterized or misused their work to advance its agenda.
The positions taken by the American College of Pediatricians are socially conservative. The organization advocates:
- Discouraging the adoption of children by same-sex couples or single parents;
- Limiting children's exposure to electronic media, particularly in relation to explicit violent and sexual content;
- Parental choice as to when and whether a child receives the HPV vaccine. ACPeds opposes legislation requiring HPV vaccination;
- Opposition to marijuana legalization;
- Support for selective parental use of corporal punishment in child discipline;
- Opposition to abortion;
- Support for abstinence-based sex education rather than comprehensive sex education
The American College of Pediatricians argues that mainstream health organizations have taken public positions based on their own social and political views, rather than the available science.
Frank Rich, writing in the New York Times, described ACPeds as a "political organization peddling homophobic junk-science." In an amicus brief, the National Association of Social Workers described ACPeds as a "small and marginal group" which was "out of step with the research-based position of the AAP and other medical and child welfare authorities." PFLAG identifies the American College of Pediatricians as an anti-equality organization, describing the group as a "small splinter group of medical professionals who do not support the mainstream view of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) that homosexuality is a normal aspect of human diversity."
Gary Remafedi, a pediatrician at the University of Minnesota, found his research being cited by ACPeds to argue that schools should deny support to gay teenagers. Remafedi complained that ACPeds had fundamentally mischaracterized his work, saying: "It's obvious that they didn't even read my research. I mean, they spelled my name wrong every time they cited it." Remafedi complained to ACPeds that his work was being misrepresented, but the organization refused to correct or retract its assertions, leading Remafedi to state that ACPeds had "deliberately distorted my research for malicious purposes."
Responding to claims by ACPeds that same-sex attraction could be "cured", Francis Collins, geneticist and director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, denounced ACPeds' use of his work, noting it was "disturbing" to see ACPeds use his scientific work in a "misleading and incorrect" way by taking work from one of his books out of context to "support an ideology that can cause unnecessary anguish and encouraged prejudice" against school children.
Warren Throckmorton, a therapist who specializes in sexual orientation issues, similarly complained that his research had been misused, saying of ACPeds: "They say they're impartial and not motivated by political or religious concerns, but if you look at who they're affiliated with and how they're using the research, that's just obviously not true."
Facts About Youth
In response to the publication by AAP of Just the Facts, a handbook on teen sexual orientation aimed at a school audience, ACPeds published its own Facts About Youth in March 2010, accompanied by a web site. Facts About Youth, along with a cover letter, was mailed to 14,800 school superintendents on behalf of Tom Benton, president of ACPeds. Facts About Youth was challenged as not acknowledging the scientific and medical evidence regarding sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual health, or effective health education by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The ACPeds letter to the superintendents primarily addressed same-sex attraction, and recommended that “well-intentioned but misinformed school personnel” who encourage students to “come out as gay” and affirm them as such may lead the students into “harmful homosexual behaviors that they otherwise would not pursue.” The ACPeds letter to the superintendents also stated that gender identity disorder will typically disappear by puberty “if the behavior is not reinforced.”
- Pinto, Nick (May 26, 2010). "University of Minnesota professor's research hijacked". City Pages. Archived from the original on November 17, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- Kranish, Michael (July 31, 2005). "Beliefs drive research agenda of new think tanks". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
- "About Us". American College of Pediatricians. (self-published)
- National Association of Social Workers (February 16, 2009). "Brief of Amici Curiae" (PDF). Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
- "Pro-Life Pediatric Group Stands Contrary to Established American Academy of Pediatrics". Catholic Exchange. July 30, 2003.
- "Coparent or second-parent adoption by same-sex parents". Pediatrics 109 (2): 339–40. February 2002. PMID 11826219.
- "Policy Statement—AAP publications retired and reaffirmed". Pediatrics 124 (2): 845. August 2009. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1415. PMID 19651598.
- Collins, Francis (April 16, 2010). "Response to the American College of Pediatricians". National Institutes of Health. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- "Position Statements". American College of Pediatricians. Retrieved November 17, 2010. (self-published)
- "A Brief History of the American College of Pediatricians". American College of Pediatricians. (self-published)
- Rich, Frank (May 15, 2010). "A Heaven-Sent Rent Boy". New York Times. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- "Anti-Equality Organizations". PFLAG. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- Facts About Youth (ACPeds site)
- "Attention: School Superintendents" (ACPeds site)
- "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth". American Academy of Pediatrics. April 13, 2010. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Horton, Greg (June 23, 2010). "Doctors debate the facts surrounding sexual orientation and gender confusion". Oklahoma Gazette. Retrieved November 17, 2010.