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NY ballot initiative could block parents from say in child’s trans surgery, critics warn in fiery campaign

Critics are slamming a New York ballot initiative with broad language they say would ban parents from approving their child to undergo transgender surgeries.

A New York ballot initiative, the Equal Rights Amendment, is facing fierce backlash over its vague language that critics say could prevent parents from having a say on whether their children undergo gender reassignment surgery. 

“Any decent lawyer will take one look at the Proposition One language and say, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,” Greg Garvey, the executive director of the Coalition to Protect Kids – New York, a group “dedicated to defeating the so-called Equal Rights Amendment,” said in a press statement provided to Fox News Digital. 

“This ballot initiative is written so broadly and so poorly that it could cause irreparable harm to children and families. This is no soft-sounding equal rights amendment, it’s nothing less than The Parent Replacement Act.”


The New York Legislature passed the Equal Rights Amendment in January 2023, bringing the amendment to voters on the Nov. 5 ballot this year for ratification. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul celebrated its passage last year, adding that New York would “combat discrimination” and “protect abortion access” following the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which ended the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion. 

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“Here in New York, we will continue to take bold measures to protect the rights of New Yorkers, and I applaud the New York State Legislature for taking another crucial step toward enshrining the Equal Rights Amendment into the state constitution. Last year, I was proud to convene an Extraordinary Session of the legislature that led to first passage of this historic amendment, and I am grateful the amendment is on its way to being presented to voters next year,” Hochul said at the time. 

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The proposal will reportedly codify abortion rights in the state constitution and add constitutional protections to its already existing protections regarding race and religion. 

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Critics, however, say the proposal’s language is broad and would open the door to parents being kept in the dark over their child’s medical procedures, including gender reassignment surgery. 

“Whether through Albany sloppiness — or pernicious ideological intent — Proposition One would strip the legal rights of parents with school-age children to know about crucially important things happening with their kids, including controversial gender transformation procedures,” the Coalition to Protect Kids said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital.

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The ballot proposal will ask New York voters this November if they support adding language to the state constitution strengthening that people cannot be denied rights based on their “ethnicity, national origin, age, and disability” or sex, which includes “sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy.”

“​​If entities cannot ‘discriminate’ based on age or gender identity or expression, under the new amendment language, medical providers could be required to facilitate a child’s request to make permanent, life-altering ‘gender-affirming’ decisions, and they would not need to consult with parents,” the coalition continued. 

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The group also said the proposal would require schools to allow biological males to compete on girls’ sports teams, while laws dictating the age New Yorkers can purchase alcohol or marijuana, or determine elder abuse and statutory rape could be “weakened because they ‘discriminate’ based on age.”

“Proponents of the amendment say they are interested in protecting abortion rights,” Garvey continued. “But abortion was legislatively adopted in New York State in 1970 and everyone knows there is no risk of its repeal or limitation. Advocates of the amendment aren’t being truthful to voters when they contend this right is at risk in New York.” 

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“The proposed amendment opens the floodgates for government wielding more authority over children than parents on some of the most important decisions of their lives,” Garvey said. “The politicians in Albany have some explaining to do.”

New Yorkers for Equal Rights, which supports the proposal, argued that the proposal would better protect New Yorkers’ rights while serving as an example for other states to follow. 

“If passed, the NY ERA would provide the most comprehensive list of protected categories of any state in the country — safeguarding New Yorkers’ rights, as well as serving as a model for other states,” the group said in a statement last week, according to the New York Post

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The group denied that the proposal would curb parent’s say in their children’s medical care. 

“These claims simply aren’t true. This amendment is about making sure our fundamental rights and reproductive freedoms are protected and never at risk of becoming a political football,” said Sasha Ahuja, campaign director of New Yorkers for Equal Rights.

Fox News Digital reached out to Hochul’s office for comment, but did not receive a reply.

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