ACPeds Responds to SPLC Criticisms

SPLC demonstrates hatred as it defames ACPeds for science-based positions

The scientific positions of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) have enraged the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because it promotes positions  rooted in science that dispel their ideology and agenda. The SPLC defines “hate groups” as all groups that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” The ACPeds has never maligned anyone, nor has it ever engaged in attacks against a group of people. The mission of ACPeds is simply to promote the “best for children” by staying true to scientific standards.

The SPLC falsely identifies ACPeds as anti-LGBTQ

ACPeds and its physician members are committed to compassionately caring for all children regardless of their family structure, race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, sexual attractions and gender identity. Our physicians extend unconditional respect to their patients and parents who may hold differing views.

ACPeds is pro-child, pro-health and pro-science. LGBTQ+ activists have attacked ACPeds for presenting positions that are supported by science: 

  • Same-sex attraction and gender discordance in youth will usuallyresolve by late adolescence or young adulthood.

  • Affirming same-sex attraction, same-sex sexual behavior, and gender discordance may interfere with nature development and lead to persistence.

  • Same-sex sexual behavior is associated with serious physical and psychological health risks at significantly high rates.

  • Children do not fare equally well when reared by same-sex couples in comparison to married mother-father families. Advocacy of same-sex unions or parenting as equivalent to opposite sex marriage and parenting is not evidence-based, and places the wants of adults above the needs of children.

The ACPeds calls attention to the science demonstrating that optimal developmental outcomes for children occur when they are reared in a home by their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. With the rise of divorce, decline of traditional marriage, and re-definition of marriage to include any desired configuration, the well-being of children within these homes has been jeopardized, ignored and even misrepresented. 

The ACPeds recognizes that many children are not reared in homes with a traditional nuclear family structure. Our members support and give care to children from all backgrounds, including single-parent, blended, and other non-traditional families while working to encourage the married mother-father family unit. While there will be exceptions, particularly in families marred by the presence of abuse, the fact remains that the family structure consisting of a married mother and father is usually in the child’s best interest, and should, therefore, be favored by policymakers interested in promoting the well-being of children.

The SPLC falsely claims ACPeds is anti-transgender

The ACPeds is a pro-child, pro-science and pro-health organization. The ACPeds believes all people - especially those who are gender incongruent - have the right to know the following facts: 

  1. Science documents significant physical and psychological illness among youth and adults with gender incongruence, even among LGBT-affirming societies.

  2. A majority of gender incongruent youth have a history of significant and untreated mental illness that pre-date their symptoms of gender incongruence.

  3. Science demonstrates that gender incongruence is neither innate nor immutable; opposite-sexed brains cannot be ‘trapped in the wrong body’.

  4. Incongruent gender identities have been documented to eventually align with an individual’s biological sex across their lifespan -- both with and without counseling.

ACPeds is deeply concerned with the alleged safety of transgender interventions, as there is not a single long-term study to demonstrate the safety or efficacy of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries for transgender-believing youth. Youth “transition” is, in fact, experimental, and, therefore, parents cannot provide informed consent, nor can minors provide assent for these interventions. 

The misuse of puberty blockers to suppress normally timed puberty is dangerous to youth. Evidence indicates that the use of such interventions is associated with mental illness and other severe and life-threatening health consequences.

In fact, the package insert for Lupron (the number one prescribed puberty blocker in America) lists “emotional lability” as a side effect and warns prescribers to “monitor for development or worsening of psychiatric symptoms during treatment.”

Even the temporary use of Lupron has been associated with and may be the cause of many serious permanent side effects including osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment, and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility. In addition to harm from Lupron, cross-sex hormones put youth at increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers across their lifespan. 

Currently, girls as young as age 13 years are receiving double mastectomies, and boys as young as 16 and 17 years of age are being surgically castrated, undergoing penectomies and/or having pelvic wounds created to simulate female vaginas. These life-altering and functionality-destroying surgeries are irreversible. No child has the cognitive capacity to consent to such procedures, and no parent has the right to consent to such mutilation of their children.

The SPLC falsely claims ACPeds endorses so called ‘conversion therapy’

ACPeds is opposed to any coercive, shaming, and physically harmful practices such as electroshock therapy with patients questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity. These are not forms of ethical psychotherapy.

ACPeds endorses ethical talk therapy and counseling techniques in order to identify and address issues that may underlie the undesired attractions and behaviors. 

ACPeds supports therapy for children and adolescents with unwanted non-heterosexual attractions given the normal fluctuation of change in these attractions during adolescence and the positive outcomes of therapy reported by adults in scientific literature. LGBTQ+ activists are committed to the belief that homosexual attractions are normal and immutable. This beliefis threatened by scientific evidence that a return to heterosexual attraction is possible for many people.

Under therapy bans, therapists are required to engage solely in speech that affirms the child’s perception as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Therapists are barred from providing heterosexual-affirming psychotherapy, even when the minor asks for help to identify as heterosexual. As a result, a number of youth will be legislated into a false sexual identity, and many others will unnecessarily begin high risk medical interventions as young as age 11 that renders them permanently sterile. This fact alone makes it highly unethical, if not criminal, for the law to require therapists to affirm every child with gender dysphoria as transgender.

The SPLC falsely claims ACPeds is strictly a religious/judeo-Christian organization

The ACPeds is a scientific, medical association of pediatricians and other child health professionals that advocates for policies that promote the optimal health and well-being of children. Though often cited and interviewed by Christian publications, the ACPeds is not a religious or political organization; it does not inquire about or use an individual’s religious or political identification as criteria for membership.

Founded in 2002, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a growing medical association of more than 600 physicians and other healthcare professionals from across the nation who are dedicated to the well-being of children. The vast majority of ACPeds members are board-certified pediatricians in active practice.

The Truth about the SPLC

While the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a self-proclaimed organization “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry,” it is, in fact, a hate group itself.
The SPLC ‘Hate Map’ attacks groups that embrace time-tested values and scientific facts that are contrary to their agenda.  

Its controversial “hate group list” published annually continues to lose credibility. In 2018, more than 1,000 organizations made the list, which is twice the number from 1999. Many argue that defining a hate group or an extremist in general is problematic due to the absence of academic consensus, particularly with regard to the SPLC, which reserves the right to apply its own standards to meet its definition. 

It is the SPLC who has demonstrated hatred in its defamation of non-violent, non-aggressive groups with whom they disagree. In its unwavering pursuit to punish citizens who hold a different worldview, the SPLC has spawned an ethos of intolerance that eliminates the possibility of any civil dialogue among those of differing viewpoints.

While the SPLC attacks these groups, it  completely ignores obvious hate groups such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which has transitioned into an attack on Israel’s existence, and on Jews themselves. It also ignores radical student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and even universities espousing leftist, anti-Israel, anti-Zionist ideology and propaganda.

“There’s no consensus academic definition of extremism, and the SPLC’s methodology for making that call isn’t clear. So it’s very subjective even within academia, and even more so for a motivated organization.” – J.M. Berger, researcher on extremism and a fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague. (Politico, 2017)

The discredited SPLC hate map repeatedly names respected organizations and individuals to their hate lists such as:

·  Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council, whose naming on the list resulted in a violent attack on headquarters and injury of staff. The assailant admitted he singled out the FRC because of its inclusion on SPLC’s hate list.

·  Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that has been invited to testify in front of Congress more than 100 times and whose work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.

·  Dr. Ben Carson, whose targetting by SPLC was retracted after criticism with an apology and admission that he did not fit their definitional standards. The group later lauded Dr. Carson’s contribution to the medical field.

·  Quilliam and founder Maajid Nawaaz, who were wrongly named as Anti-Muslim extremists. The SPLC later paid a $3.375 million settlement in a defamation lawsuit.

In recent years, the hate list has become a tool to attack organizations with which the SPLC philosophically disagrees. Heidi Beirich, who leads the SPLC's hate list initiative, publicly stated that the SPLC targets organizations with traditional values. If the SPLC were to honestly and impartially evaluate organizations spreading hate, it would have to reflect on its own work as an organization and named itself to the list.

SPLC motivation: Profits or People?

Critics also argue that the SPLC picks its causes with the bottom line in mind, focusing more and spending more on fundraising and overhead than the causes it champions. The group clearly prioritizes putting money in its own pockets. In 2015 alone, the group spent $20 million on salaries, and $61,000 on litigation.

 Not only does it spend more money on overhead and less on litigation in comparison to similar groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the group’s massive endowment of more than $450 million is more than the ACLU’s total assets.

 “We just run our business like a business. Whether you’re selling cakes or causes, it’s all the same.” – SPLC Founder Morris Dees (The New Yorker, 2019)      

This massive amount of money housed in the United State is in addition to the SPLC’s undisclosed financial holdings in a known tax haven, the Cayman Islands. Tax experts agree that it is very uncommon for nonprofits, especially those in human rights and social services, to have foreign bank accounts with large offshore holdings.

As former employee Bob Moser wrote, “[employees] were part of the con, and knew it.”

While the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a self-proclaimed organization “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry,” its activities and message should make it number one of its own hate list. 

For further information on the SPLC and the spread of misinformation about ACPeds and other time-tested organizations, visit

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