American College of Pediatricians

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American College of Pediatricians
American College of Pediatricians (emblem).jpg
Founded 2002; 16 years ago (2002)
Founders Gerry Boccarossa and Joseph Zanga
Type 501(c)(3)
500 (estimated)
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015) $78,761

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a socially conservative advocacy group of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals in the United States.[1] The group 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.[2][3] The group's membership as of 2016 is estimated at 500 members.[4][5]

ACPeds describes itself as "a national organization of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children... committed to fulfilling its mission by producing sound policy, based upon the best available research, to assist parents and to influence society in the endeavor of childrearing."[6] Founder Joseph Zanga has described it as a group "with Judeo-Christian, traditional values that is open to pediatric medical professionals of all religions" provided that they "hold true to the group's core beliefs: that life begins at conception; and that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children."[7]

The organization's view on parenting differs from the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which holds that sexual orientation has no correlation with the ability to be a good parent and to raise healthy and well-adjusted children.[5][8][9] ACPeds has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for "pushing anti-LGBT junk science".[10] A number of mainstream researchers, including the director of the US National Institutes of Health, have accused ACPeds of misusing or mischaracterizing their work to advance ACPeds' political agenda.[2][11]


ACPeds releases official policy positions on their website. Some of the organization's policy stances include:[12]

  • 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;
  • Support for selective parental use of spanking in child discipline;
  • Opposition to abortion and euthanasia;
  • Opposition to gender reassignment, including the use of puberty blockers;
  • Support for abstinence until marriage sex education rather than "comprehensive sex education", based on “the public health principle of primary prevention – risk avoidance in lieu of risk reduction.” [13]

ACPeds argues that mainstream health organizations have taken public positions based on their own social and political views, rather than the available science.[14]

ACPeds has vehemently condemned the American Psychological Association as a “gay-affirming program” which “devalues self-restraint,” and supports “a child’s autonomy from the authority of both family and religion, and from the limits and norms these institutions place on children.”[15]


Some scientists have voiced concerns that ACPeds mischaracterized or misused their work to advance its political agenda.[2][11] Gary Remafedi, a pediatrician at the University of Minnesota, wrote ACPeds a public letter accusing them of fundamentally mischaracterizing his research in their publications to argue that schools should deny support to gay teenagers. Francis Collins, a geneticist and director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), issued a statement through the NIH accusing the ACPeds of misleading children and parents on its Facts About Youth website.[11] Warren Throckmorton, a therapist who specializes in sexual orientation issues, similarly stated 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."[2]

In an amicus brief regarding the removal of a child from the foster home of a same sex couple (Kutil and Hess v West Virginia) the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 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."[5] The LGBT advocacy organization PFLAG categorizes the ACPeds 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."[16]

The American College of Pediatricians has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate group", and a "fringe group" which closely collaborates with the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) with "a history of propagating damaging falsehoods about LGBT people, including linking homosexuality to pedophilia".[17][18][15] In response to an ACPeds brief, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote that ACPeds is a fringe group that has acted to promote "unscientific and harmful 'reparative therapies' for LGBTQ students."[19][20][21]


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,[2] 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.[22]

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 dysphoria will typically disappear by puberty "if the behavior is not reinforced" and similarly alleged that "most students (over 85 percent) with same-sex attractions will ultimately adopt a heterosexual orientation if not otherwise encouraged."[23][21]


  1. ^ Larsen, Allison Orr (2014), "The Trouble with Amicus Facts" (PDF), Virginia Law Review, 100 (8): 1762 
  2. ^ a b c d e 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. 
  3. ^ Kranish, Michael (July 31, 2005). "Beliefs drive research agenda of new think tanks". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 21, 2007. 
  4. ^ Beale, Stephen (November 11, 2016). "Lawsuits Challenge Federal 'Transgender Mandate'". NC Register. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c "Crossing Over". Proto Magazine. Massachusetts General Hospital. June 10, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  6. ^ "About us". American College of Pediatricians. Archived from the original on 2014-02-25. 
  7. ^ "Pro-Life Pediatric Group Stands Contrary to the American Academy of Pediatrics". Catholic Exchange. July 30, 2003. 
  8. ^ "Coparent or second-parent adoption by same-sex parents". Pediatrics. 109 (2): 339–40. February 2002. PMID 11826219. 
  9. ^ "Policy Statement—AAP publications retired and reaffirmed". Pediatrics. 124 (2): 845. August 2009. doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1415. PMID 19651598. 
  10. ^ "AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PEDIATRICIANS". Extremist Files. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2018-07-20. 
  11. ^ a b c 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. 
  12. ^ "Position Statements". American College of Pediatricians. Retrieved November 17, 2010.  (self-published)
  13. ^ "Abstinence Education". American College of Pediatricians. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  14. ^ "A Brief History of the American College of Pediatricians". American College of Pediatricians.  (self-published)
  15. ^ a b Lenz, Ryan (March 1, 2012). "American College of Pediatricians Defames Gays and Lesbians in the Name of Protecting Children". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved July 20, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Anti-Equality Organizations". PFLAG. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 
  17. ^ ""P" for Pedophile". American College of Pediatricians. 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  18. ^ "Meet the Anti-LGBT Hate Group that Filed an Amicus Brief with the Alabama Supreme Court". Southern Poverty Law Center. November 13, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Does Focus on the Family Speak for Your Family?". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  20. ^ "In re: Gill - About the American College of Pediatricians". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  21. ^ a b Coleman, Theara (June 24, 2010). "Misinformation from Doctors… Out to Hurt Students?". American Civil Liberties Union. 
  22. ^ "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. 
  23. ^ Horton, Greg (June 23, 2010). "Doctors debate the facts surrounding sexual orientation and gender confusion". Oklahoma Gazette. Retrieved November 17, 2010. 

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