Ashley Baxstrom: New in the world of right-wing medical care: meet the American College of Pediatrics, “a national organization of pediatricians and other healthcare professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children.”

Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology at Grove City College and Clinical Advisory Board member of the American Association of Christian Counselors set up a comparison between the ACP and the American Academy of Pediatrics on his blog. Apparently proponents of the ACP have been trying to say that they’re the “leading association,” have more members and have been around longer – all of which just isn’t true, according to Throckmorton.

He pulls up a side-by-side ACP vs AAP chart from the ACP’s own site, showing pretty clearly the AAP’s longer existence (by, oh, about 70 years) and their obvious dominance in spending on continuing education and professional publications.

So why is it important that we’re aware of the AAP’s professional and historical prominence over the ACP? Because the ACP isn’t just some upstart medical association trying to make a place for itself in the world – looking at their site, it’s clear they have an agenda, one that’s “family values” religious at the core.

Check out a couple of their stated values:

Recognizes the fundamental mother-father family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for the development and nurturing of children and pledges to promote this unit.

Recognizes the unique value of every human life from the time of conception to natural death and pledges to promote research and clinical practice that provides for the healthiest outcome of the child from conception to adulthood.

Recognizes the essential role parents play in encouraging and correcting the child and pledges to protect and promote this role.

Recognizes the physical and emotional benefits of sexual abstinence until marriage and pledges to promote this behavior as the ideal for adolescence.

As evidenced by all this talk about “moral vacuums,” the ACP has a socially-conservative idea of how people should behave.  They state that their vision is to “promote a society where all children, from the moment of their conception, are valued unselfishly,” that they “recognize the basic father-mother family unit, within the context of marriage,” and that they “expect societal forces to support the two-parent, father-mother family unit and provide for children role models of ethical character and responsible behavior.”

Importantly, the ACP is a “not-for-profit corporation organized for scientific and educational purposes, exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.” On their website, they link to recent articles such as “Mean Age of First Sex: Do They Know What We Mean?” and, under Ethics for the Pediatrician, “Religion and Spirituality in Pediatrics.”

So while practicing medicine, the ACP is promoting a specific social agenda, and yet operating as a state-backed tax free organization. The big question that needs to be answered here is whose agenda? Where does their money come from, besides each members’ annual dues of $225?

Obviously we like doctors and think anyone should be allowed to practice the belief and career of their choosing. But hiding their light under a bussel–seemingly to challenge the established AAP and coerce, with puffed-up authority, unsuspecting children and parents into a particular social agenda, isn’t just bad manners – it’s bad medicine.