Inquiries and Criticisms of the College

What is the composition of your membership?

Founded in 2002, the American College of Pediatricians (The College) is a young growing medical association of more than 500 physicians and other healthcare professionals from across the nation (47 states) who are dedicated to the well-being of children.  The vast majority of College members are Board-certified pediatricians in active practice.

What comprises the College’s religious or political position?

The College is a scientific, medical association of healthcare professionals that advocates policies for the optimal health and well-being of children.  The College 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.

How does the College create policy statements and does this process differ from other medical associations?

Both the College and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) employ similar first steps in producing a policy:  A lead author produces a draft which is then evaluated by a small committee followed by a review of the Executive Committee.  However, with the AAP, the process ends here with at most 30-35 pediatricians producing a policy that supposedly speaks for its 60,000 members – even though none of the other members have any input, and may or may not support the policy.  In contrast, the College sends its draft policies to every Fellow member of the organization, first for suggested edits and then for a vote; only policies supported by a large super-majority (75%) are passed and published.  Thus, even though the College has a smaller membership, far more pediatricians have input into the College policy/position statements as compared with the AAP.

What is your response to being designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, AL?

The American College of Pediatricians has scientifically disputed the contemporary, politically correct position that non-heterosexual attractions are inborn or innate and, instead, adheres to the time-honored and evidence-based position that these attractions develop from the interaction of a multitude of influences in an individual’s life.  This scientific position has enraged SPLC because it interferes with their ideology and perhaps their agenda.  The SPLC defines a “hate group” as all groups that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”[i]  The College has never maligned anyone nor has it ever engaged in attacks against a group of people. Our mission is simply to seek the “best for children” in all we do and to stay true to scientific positions even when it is no longer popular or “politically correct.”

The discredited SPLC lists about 900 groups as “hate groups” in 2016, almost double the number listed in 1999. Many of the alleged hate groups are organizations of faith including but not limited to churches and bible studies.  We suggest the SPLC is motivated by an anti-religious animus and has altered its definition of hate to appeal to an increasing number of activist groups who share their specific ideology.   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.

Is the College anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-sexual, Questioning (LGBTQ)? 

No. The College and its members are not anti-LGBTQ, we are pro-health, pro-child and pro-family.

The College recognizes that no child is born into, or raised in, a perfect family. Regardless of a child’s family circumstances, the child’s genetic endowment, environmental experiences, or choices that the parents or child make, the College works toward the best possible outcomes for that individual child. Thus the College encourages its members to care for all children whose parents or guardians seek their care. We are “anti-harm” to children. We are pro-ethical, pro-evidence-based science and, as our slogan proclaims, support that which is “the Best for Children.”  The LGBT activists have attacked the College for taking three positions in particular:

  1. We have opposed school validation of same-sex attraction and gender discordance in children since both conditions are associated with serious health risks and will often resolve by late adolescence. Validation is a subtle form of indoctrination into a lifestyle that by any measure is unhealthy.  Our stance, although supported by science, has displeased the LGBTQ activists.
  2. We have proclaimed the fact that every child needs a mother and a father in order to optimally develop. Children do not fare equally well when reared by same-sex couples.  Any advocacy of same-sex marriage places the wants of adults above the needs of the child, and deliberately disenfranchises the child.
  3. We support therapy for children and adolescents with unwanted non-heterosexual attractions given the fluctuation of change in these attractions during adolescence and given the positive outcomes reported by adults in the scientific literature. LGBTQ activists are committed to the belief that homosexual attractions are normal and immutable. This worldview is threatened by evidence that change toward heterosexual attraction is possible for some people.

Does the College advise its members to refuse care to LGBQT-identified children and families?

Of course not.  As expressed in our mission, vision and values statement, the College and its members are committed to compassionately caring for all children regardless of their family structure, race, ethnicity, ideology or sexual preference. We physicians extend unconditional respect to our patients who may hold different views, and we ask that our own convictions and professional judgment be likewise respected.

Is it true that Francis Collins criticized the College?

On April 15, 2010, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued an uncharacteristically, unscientific statement on the NIH website accusing the American College of Pediatricians of misleading children and parents on its Facts About Youth website.  The College made several attempts by phone, fax and email to initiate a dialogue with Dr. Collins and resolve the matter privately. When after 10 days Dr. Collins failed to communicate his concerns directly to the College, this letter was sent by courier and fax to Dr. Collins from the College.

The College posted an open letter on April 30th after receiving no response from Dr. Collins.  Then on May 26, the College received by U.S. mail this  statement on National Institutes of Health stationery from Dr. Collins.

While Dr. Collins’ response is appreciated, the College respectfully disagrees with Dr. Collins’ accusation of misinterpretation. Please see the following pages excerpted word-for-word from The Language of God  by Dr. Francis Collins: Pages 256-263

Why does the College emphasize the “married, father-mother, family unit” as being important to child development?  Is the College opposed to families with single parents or blended families?

With the rise of divorce, the decline of traditional marriage, and re-defining of marriage to include any desired configuration, the well-being of children within these homes has been ignored and even misrepresented.  The College is simply asserting that the optimal outcome for children occurs when they are reared in a home by their biological parents in a low conflict marriage.  Recognizing that not all children are being raised in this optimal environment, the College supports children from single-parent, blended, and other families while working to encourage the mother-father married family unit.  While there will be exceptions, particularly in families marred by the presence of abuse, the fact remains that this unit is usually in the child’s best interest and should be favored by policy makers interested in the well-being of children.


[i] SPLC website accessed at: