This month, New Mexico House Republicans released a notification form for parents and guardians to fill out to require notification before their child accesses medical and behavioral health services or some instructional materials. The move came after the passage of recent legislation, including H.B. 7 and S.B. 397.
The form gives multiple fields for notification, including “any health care services, referral for services, class, lesson, instruction, curriculum, assembly, guest speaker, activity, assignment, library material, online material, club, group, or association concerning transgender ideology, gender affirming care or gender identity,” “abortion,” “contraception and other family planning,” “primary health care,” and “mental or psychiatric care.”
However, the Democrats are now trying to gaslight parents, claiming the form is not binding while asserting they care about parental-teacher collaboration.
Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s New Mexico Department of Health Secretary (NMDOH) Patrick Allen and Department of Education (PED) Secretary Arsenio Romero wrote a July 14 letter to school officials charging, “The notification and consent school form offered to parents by the New Mexico House Republicans does not have any legal effect.”
According to a Santa Fe New Mexican report, parents have cause for concern about their child being exposed to abortion and gender-affirming care at schools.
It read, “But state law allows for a few circumstances in which youth can consent to medical care on their own. Teens 14 and older, for instance, can consent to taking psychotropic medications or engaging in certain forms of therapy and counseling. The Children’s Code requires clinicians in such cases to promote the ‘healthy involvement of a child’s legal custodians and family members in developing and implementing the child’s treatment plan.’ New Mexico has no laws requiring parental consent for minors to receive abortions.”
Democrats’ House Whip Reena Szczepanski (D-Santa Fe) gaslit concerned parents, telling the outlet the form is a “divisive tactic for political gain” to bring “national political lightning rod issues” to New Mexico, where she claims such concerns do not exist — despite the same report admitting underage children can access gender-affirming care and abortions without parental consent due to these new laws.
“I’m a mom with school-aged children, and one thing I have learned over the years is that the most important thing to help a child succeed is great communication between school, parents, teachers — everyone being involved in education is a great thing,” Szczepanski continued.
It is unclear how Szczepanski claims to want “great communication” between stakeholders yet opposes measures to ensure such communication happens at schools between parents/guardians and educators.
A July 19, 2023 letter signed by 23 of the 25 New Mexico House Republicans asked Secretaries Allen and Romero why they sent the July 14 letter, which caused further alarm and confusion among schools and parents.
One question asked by the GOP lawmakers included, “Are you advising school leaders to reject, or ignore, the explicit request by parents to be informed via the parental notification/consent form?”
Neither Cabinet secretary has yet given a response to the House Republicans’ questions, but it appears the two are hoping to push parents into confusion about what rights they have over their children’s well-being.