American College of Pediatricians
|Founders||Gerry Boccarossa and Joseph Zanga|
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a socially conservative advocacy group of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals in the United States. The group was founded in 2002 and claims to have over 500 members, although independent sources report that group has between 60 and 200 members and only one employee. The group's primary focus is advocating against the right of gay or lesbian people to adopt children, and it also advocates conversion therapy.
The organization's view on parenting differs from the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which holds that sexuality has no relation with the ability to be a good parent and to raise healthy and well-adjusted children. ACPeds has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for "pushing anti-LGBT junk science". 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.
Founding and membership
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. ACPeds reports its membership at "over 500 physicians and other healthcare professionals".
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.” Contrary to what some bloggers have reported, ACPeds does support childhood vaccination.
In response to the publication by the medical and professional organization American Academy of Pediatrics of Just the Facts, a handbook on teen sexual orientation aimed at a school audience, ACPeds issued its own publication, 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 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."
Some scientists have voiced concerns that ACPeds mischaracterized or misused their work to advance its political agenda. 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. 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."
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." 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."
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". 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."
- Larsen, Allison Orr (2014), "The Trouble with Amicus Facts" (PDF), Virginia Law Review, 100 (8): 1762, archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-02-26, retrieved 2016-05-23
- Kranish, Michael (July 31, 2005). "Beliefs drive research agenda of new think tanks". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2007-06-08. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
- "Crossing Over". Proto Magazine. Massachusetts General Hospital. June 10, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-10-25. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
- "AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PEDIATRICIANS". Extremist Files. Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Beale, Stephen (November 11, 2016). "Lawsuits Challenge Federal 'Transgender Mandate'". NC Register. Archived from the original on 2016-11-14. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
- Lenz, Ryan (March 1, 2012). "American College of Pediatricians Defames Gays and Lesbians in the Name of Protecting Children". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on 2015-09-19. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- Crossland, Kiley. "Measles outbreak reignites vaccine debate". world.wng.org.
- "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth". American Academy of Pediatrics. April 13, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-11-19. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Horton, Greg (June 23, 2010). "Doctors debate the facts surrounding sexual orientation and gender confusion". Oklahoma Gazette. Archived from the original on 2014-12-19. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- Coleman, Theara (June 24, 2010). "Misinformation from Doctors… Out to Hurt Students?". American Civil Liberties Union. Archived from the original on 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
- "Anti-Equality Organizations". PFLAG. Archived from the original on 2010-12-29. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- "Meet the Anti-LGBT Hate Group that Filed an Amicus Brief with the Alabama Supreme Court". Southern Poverty Law Center. November 13, 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-04-05. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
- "Does Focus on the Family Speak for Your Family?". American Civil Liberties Union. Archived from the original on 2016-04-05. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
- "In re: Gill - About the American College of Pediatricians". American Civil Liberties Union. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved May 15, 2016.