Marcia Segelstein has covered family issues for over 25 years as a producer for CBS News and as a columnist. She has written for FoxNews.com, “First Things,” “World Magazine,” and “Touchstone.” She is a Senior Editor for “SALVO” magazine and author of the book Don’t Let the Culture Raise Your Kids, which will be released by Our Sunday Visitor this spring.
Did you know there’s an organization of pediatricians and other child health professionals whose policies likely support your values as Catholic parents and grandparents?
The American College of Pediatricians (not to be confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics) actually makes these claims and recommendations on its website:
- The married, father-mother family unit is foundational to healthy childrearing.
- The ideal family in which to rear and nurture children consists of two biological parents in a harmonious marriage.
- Teach your child about sex and how/why to avoid sexual activity before marriage.
- Teach that marriage is forever. Model it and talk about it.
- Teach your child about your faith and convictions.
Yes, you read all that correctly. The American College of Pediatricians (we’ll call them ACPeds for short) believes that the optimal family structure in which to raise children consists of a married mother and father and isn’t afraid to say so. They believe that a traditional family – with traditional marriage as its centerpiece – is ideal for children.
And when is the last time you heard a medical professional recommending that parents teach their children to avoid sexual activity before marriage? Probably never. And here’s the kicker: all of their recommendations are based on science.
One of the organization’s goals is to educate parents and policymakers on the critical role family plays in a child’s life. The “Family Cycle” section of their website explains why they believe family is the best medicine for children and offers concrete suggestions for parents on everything from nurturing respect to raising adolescents. The ACPeds blog covers a wide range of topics on the minds of today’s parents with links to the science behind their recommendations.
Dr. Michelle Cretella is President of the American College of Pediatricians. She’s also a pediatrician herself, and a Catholic mother of four. In an interview she explained what unites the members of ACPeds, which is nonsectarian and whose members are of different faiths. “We believe in evidence-based medicine, the scientific method, and moral absolutes accessible to anyone of good will through the use of reason alone.” In other words, they believe in real science and in the principle to “First do no harm,” not caving in to social pressure and political correctness.
Not surprisingly, the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has supported all of the social trends growing out of the sexual revolution, has many more members and the financial support of pharmaceutical companies and multiple other corporations, including Coca-Cola. Dr. Cretella notes that funding for ACPeds comes solely from membership dues and its annual “Best for Children” campaign. “Lack of corporate funding eliminates financial conflicts of interest with regard to our work,” she adds.
So how did ACPeds, which has 500 members and counting, come to be? It actually grew out of the AAP, as some of its members began to disagree with shifting policies motivated by political agendas and moral relativism rather than by science and traditional medical ethics. Dr. Cretella told me abortion was the turning point for many. Prior to Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the AAP had referred to its patients as beginning at the moment of conception, for example. But within a year of those Supreme Court rulings the organization suddenly considered abortion to be a right (including a right for their teenage patients), and dropped the “beginning at conception” description for their patients.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated ACPeds as a “hate group” for not supporting gay adoption and other issues related to homosexuality, as Dr. Cretella explained. “We talk about the fact that biology matters, and the differences between men and women. The fact is that two lesbian parents cannot be a father and two gay men cannot be a mother. We are not anti-adoption. We are not anti-single parent families. And we’re not condemning gay couples who yearn to raise children. But we recognize that there are intrinsic challenges within these structures that children have to struggle to overcome. The difference among single parent families, traditional adoptive families, stepfamilies and gay families is that when you assist a gay couple to adopt or conceive children, you intentionally rob those children of the nurturance of either a father or a mother.”
The other thing that got them into trouble with the Southern Poverty Law Center was their 2010 launch of a separate website called Facts About Youth aimed at school superintendents across the country. Here are some highlights from it:
- Homosexual attraction of young students is usually temporary (if not encouraged) and may be unwanted.
- The homosexual lifestyle carries grave health risks, especially for males.
- For unwanted sexual attractions, therapy to restore heterosexual attraction has proven effective and harmless.
- Gay, lesbian, and bisexual students are not born that way. The most recent, extensive and scientifically sound research finds that the primary factor in the development of homosexuality is environmental not genetic. (See the website for sources.)
Yes, the American College of Pediatricians dares to dispel the “born that way” argument made by gay activists. It also dares to support therapy for those with unwanted same-sex attraction, a veritable high crime for anyone in polite society, much less a medical organization.
What else distinguishes ACPeds from the AAP and other mainstream medical organizations? For one thing, ACPeds unabashedly respects life from conception to natural death. For another, its members believe in acting as a bridge between parents and children, not a barrier, especially when it comes to difficult issues affecting teens, such as sex, drugs, alcohol, bullying and behavioral and mental health. For another, their approach to children who think they’re transgender is based on science, which says that up to 95 percent of gender confused children will outgrow their confusion and come to accept their biological sex after puberty.
More on what ACPeds has to say on these issues and other topics in upcoming blogs.
In the meantime, you can sign up to receive newsletters via email and check out the Parent Resources page on the ACPeds website. If you’re looking for a pediatrician in your area who belongs to the American College of Pediatricians, use the “Contact Us” tab and send them an email.
And spread the word. There are doctors and other health care professionals out there who support your efforts to raise children who are faithful to your beliefs.