Rev. Franklin Graham has condemned what he calls an "ludicrous" new policy put into effect in Oregon which permits teenagers to get a state-subsidized sex change without their parents knowledge or permission.
"In Oregon 15-year-olds are NOT legally allowed to do a lot of things: drive, smoke, get a tattoo, go to a tanning bed, or even donate blood," Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. "But unbelievably, now they ARE allowed to get a sex-change operation-and (get this) without parental notification. You've got to be kidding me! As a parent and grandparent I'm outraged, and I don't even live in Oregon! And to top it off, the state will even pay for it through its Medicaid program. What kind of ludicrousness is this? It's wrong from every angle. The state should not be superseding God-given parental authority. This is another example of why Christians should get involved in politics and policy at all levels to bring about change for the better in our society."
While 15 is the medical age of consent in the state, according to Oregon Health Authority spokeswoman Susan Wickstrom, the decision to cover sex-change operations specifically was made by the Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC) after "little debate," Fox News reports.
"HERC changed its policy to include cross-sex hormone therapy, puberty-suppressing drugs and gender-reassignment surgery as covered treatments for people with gender dysphoria, formally known as gender identity disorder," the report reads.
The new policy also does not require parental consent for cross-sex hormone therapy, puberty-suppressing drugs and sex reassignment surgeries, as doing so "would lead to more suffering and teen suicide attempts."
"Parents may not be supportive," Jenn Burleton, founder of the Portland nonprofit group TransActive, said. "They may not be in an environment where they feel the parent will affirm their identity, this may have been going on for years," she added.
The HERC also argues that the new policy allows Oregon to save money due to fewer suicide attempts, as the average cost per suicide attempt in the U.S. is $7,234, according to the CDC.
The new policy has received opposition from many Christian and conservative groups, who say it is comparable to child abuse.
'It is trespassing on the hearts, the minds, the bodies of our children," Ori Porter with Parents' Rights in Education said. "They're our children. And for a decision, a life-altering decision like that to be done unbeknownst to a parent or guardian--it's mind-boggling.'
Added Dr. Paul McHugh, who led the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Department, "We have a very radical and even mutilating treatment being offered to children without any evidence that the long-term outcome of this would be good."
He added, "We can help them if we begin to explore with them and their families what they're fearing about development, what they're fearing about being a young boy, a young adolescent appropriate to themselves."
Hot Air journalist Jazz Shaw also criticized the policy and lamented that "as a nation, collectively, we have lost our minds."
"We simply can't have state sponsored mutilation of children," Shaw writes. "This is beyond insanity. I happen to agree that a fifteen year old child shouldn't be able to get a tattoo, at least without parental consent... One thing they should absolutely not be able to do is be diagnosed with "gender dysphoria" and have their genitals surgically removed or rearranged in a way which will never be able to be fully restored...these are children we're talking about. It is the parents' obligation, first and foremost, to protect them. But if the parents fail, at some point the state needs to step in and prevent a disaster, not promote one."