IL Bill Changes Definition Of ‘Abused Child,’ Would Include Parents Who Oppose Abortion, Trans Surgeries

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker departs the Memorial Chapel Funeral Home after visiting the family of Eduardo Uvaldo, who was killed Monday during a mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Ill., Saturday, July 9, 2022, in Waukegan, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

A bill recently introduced in Illinois proposes to redefine the term “abused child” to encompass minors whose parents oppose their receipt of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, transgender surgeries, and abortions.

House Bill 4876, unveiled in early February, not only broadens the definition of “abused child” but also shields physicians from liability if they prescribe such treatments to minors without parental consent. Furthermore, the bill grants authority to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to intervene and, if deemed necessary, remove children from their biological parents based on this expanded definition of abuse.

The legislation grants minors legal autonomy akin to adults regarding consenting to medical procedures related to abortion and gender transition. It states that “consent to the performance of abortion services and gender-affirming services executed by a minor is not voidable because of such minority.”

Doctors prescribing and performing these treatments and procedures are directed to make reasonable efforts to ensure that minors understand the associated risks and benefits. They are also exempt from civil or criminal liability for their involvement in the minor’s treatment if they acted in good faith based on representations made by the minor.

The bill further specifies that healthcare professionals providing abortion and gender-affirming services cannot be held liable for failure to obtain valid consent if they relied in good faith on representations made by the minor.

In the event that DCFS finds merit in allegations of abuse, parents could face legal consequences. Existing Illinois law categorizes child abuse as a criminal offense, ranging from a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine to a felony carrying fines of up to $25,000 and a maximum prison term of 15 years, depending on the severity of the abuse.