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 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 group's membership as of 2016 is estimated at 500 members.
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." 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."
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. 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.
ACPeds releases official policy positions on their website. Some of the organization's policy stances include:
- 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.” 
ACPeds argues that mainstream health organizations have taken public positions based on their own social and political views, rather than the available science.
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.”
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."
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 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."
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