Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Parental Rights- Two Great Stories of 'Parents Know Best'

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September 10, 2013
Two Great Stories of 'Parents Know Best'
We turn to experts every day for insight and guidance because they are, well, experts. They know more on the subject at hand than we do, whether it’s “What is making my faucet drip?” or “Why is my car overheating?” Experts can be, if you will, a helpful diagnostic tool.

But when it’s time to make decisions about your child, you know the real expert is you.

That proved especially true in two heart-warming stories in the news this past week, as parents defied the experts and saved their children’s lives – one figuratively and one literally.

At age 2, Jacob Barnett was diagnosed with autism when, after learning to talk, he suddenly and irreversibly went silent. Experts recognized that his attention had turned inward, and they prescribed what would become a 60-hour-per-week therapy regimen. One specialist warned he would never even learn to read.

Then one day, mother Kristine realized that while she was playing with other children in the daycare she ran from her home, her own son was losing his childhood. “I knew in my heart that if Jake stayed in special ed, he would slip away,” Kristine later told a 60 Minutes interview.

That’s when she decided to focus not on what he couldn’t do, but on what he could. She halted his therapy and instead invested time in what he liked – which appeared to be the stars. They would lie out at night and look at the sky, and make occasional trips to the planetarium.

On one such trip, a university lecture was taking place, so mother and son decided to sit in. At the end of the class, the professor asked if anyone knows why Mars’s moons are oblong. Jacob’s hand went up. “How large are the moons?” he asked when called upon.

When the professor answered that they’re quite small, Jacob correctly responded, “The gravitational effects of the moons are not large enough [compared to that of Mars] to pull them into complete spheres.”

Jacob was 3 years old.

Today, at age 15, he is involved in an international study program for post-graduate level physicists at Perimeter Scholars International in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He has developed his own theory of relativity, expanding on that of Albert Einstein. His level of genius is literally off the charts – and he can share all of this with the world that so amazes him because his mother decided to counter the experts and take an unconventional approach.

In a similar vein, young Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler of Washington recently faced a parental dilemma of her own. Five months into her first pregnancy, doctors discovered that her baby, suffered from Potter’s Syndrome: the baby had developed no kidneys, and could therefore produce no fetal urine. Without fetal urine, she would have little or no amniotic fluid, which would ultimately keep the baby’s lungs from developing.

Doctors told Congresswoman Herrera-Beutler and her husband, Dan, that there was zero chance that their baby would live.

“As the doctor was giving us the diagnosis (Abigail) was kicking,” Herrera-Beutler told FoxNews. “We were totally broken, we’re sobbing, we’re asking, ‘What can be done? Is there anything that can be done?’ And she’s moving inside of me, and the doctor is saying, ‘No, there is no option. This is fatal.’

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, mother.
But the Beutlers refused to give up, and instead located a doctor at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore who had an experimental treatment he was willing to try. There was no pre-natal fix for the absence of kidneys, but perhaps injecting saline solution into Jaime’s abdomen would provide the fluid the lungs needed to develop.

Miraculously, Abigail was born on July 15 with a healthy set of lungs – the first known survivor of Potter’s Syndrome anywhere, ever. She still needs special care, and won’t be ready for a kidney transplant for about a year. From that point, however, doctors are hopeful she can have a normal, healthy life.

And the difference between no chance and full life was in the decision of loving parents who dared to defy the odds and prove the experts wrong.

Both of these stories feature a variety of experts, including those who "got it wrong" – and those who ultimately helped these parents to save the children they seemed destined to lose. There is nothing wrong with experts.

But there is a powerful, natural reason why parents, not the experts, should make the vital decisions that will ultimately shape their children’s lives. The proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution will ensure that the right to make these decisions remains with parents for generations to come.

Please pass this email along and invite your friends and family to join the movement to protect parental rights at ParentalRights.org.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

Use of this story is not intended to imply any political endorsement by or for Rep. Herrera Beutler.
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