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January 30, 2014
The Unbelievable State of Parental Rights in America
But what about parental rights? Where are we and where are we headed? It turns out we are not as free and secure as we would like to be, and we’re heading in the wrong direction. Here is an overview of parental rights in America as we begin 2014.
Medical Freedom - Hospitals:
The law is not on your side. In every one of these cases the judge ruled against legally fit parents. As a result, more and more parents are afraid to even take their child to the emergency room, lest one wrong answer lead to the removal of their child and the loss of their parental rights.
Medical Freedom at Home:
But keeping your child at home doesn’t provide any protection, either.
The law is not on your side. In the last decade alone, legislatures in 26 states have made 36 attempts to increase mandatory vaccination requirements, the large majority successfully requiring the HPV vaccine for pre-teen girls.
Mental Health and Counseling:
New laws in California and New Jersey make it illegal for teenagers struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction to seek reparative therapy, even if the teen, the professional counselor, and both parents agree on the desired treatment. This viewpoint discrimination takes decision-making rights away from parents and tramples the doctor-patient professional relationship.
The law is not on your side.
Public School Access:
But why do parents need to make decisions in the schools anyway? Surely they can trust the institutions where they leave their children every day, right?
Public School Content:
But the law is not on your side. The Ninth Circuit in Fields v. Palmdale (2005) held that, “Parents…have no constitutional right…to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so.”
Still, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in its Parker v. Hurley (2007) decision states, “Parents do have a fundamental right to raise their children. They are not required to abandon that responsibility to the state. [They] may send their children to a private school that does not … conflict with their religious beliefs. They may also educate their children at home.” (emphasis added) But this may not be the case much longer.
A judge in Texas took the Tutts’ children away at the urging of a guardian ad litem who confesses there are no signs of abuse or neglect. Yet she implicated statutory language likely to cause the children to be removed (which it did), apparently because she opposes the family’s choice to teach their children at home.
The law here may be on your side, but it is quickly retreating. And so is the government.
In Loudermilk v. Administration for Children, Youth, and Families, a federal district court ruled that Arizona social workers were protected by immunity when they forced their way into a family’s home without a warrant using threats of taking the couple’s children away. Such threats, according to the court, do not constitute coercion, so the parents’ Fourth Amendment rights – says the court – were surrendered voluntarily.
What Can Be Done?
There is hope! A proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is already making its way through the Congress. Once adopted, the PRA will guard the fundamental right of parents to make decisions – medical, educational, in fact all kinds of decisions – for their children.
To join the effort, sign the petition at parentalrights.org/petition.
To further support parental rights, visit parentalrights.org/donate.
Director of Communications & Research
P.S. -- The above is a sampling, not an exhaustive list. This is an epidemic. Now let's get to work on the cure!
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