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DC Council Would Discard Constitution, End Parents’ Rights

Parental Rights

For nearly 100 years, consistent Supreme Court precedent has held that parents have both the duty and the right to direct the care, custody, and control of their minor children. But Bill 23-171, proposed by Councilwoman Cheh and cosponsored by a majority of the council, would defy that precedent, stripping parents not only of the authority to make a decision, but even to know about the decision being made.
The bill, proposed October 7 in the Committee on Health, would declare, “A minor, eleven years of age or older, may consent to receive a vaccine where the minor is capable of meeting the informed consent standard, and the vaccine is recommended by the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)…”

Good News, Tennessee

Parental Rights.org

The Tennessee Department of Education issued a letter this weekend completely withdrawing child wellbeing guidance that last week caused a tremendous outcry due to parental rights and family privacy concerns.

That letter, addressed to the Tennessee legislature and forwarded to us by one of our friends there, is attached here.

Last week’s policy guidance, created by the Child Wellbeing Task Force, set a goal for government agents to make contact with every child in the state. We cautioned that such a policy, if adopted, would threaten the right of parents to be presumed to act in their own child’s best interests. The policy would have treated every parent like a suspected child abuser.

Progressive Sex Education and the Battle for Our Children

Daily Signal by Virginia Allen

On today’s episode of “The Daily Signal Podcast,” we listen in on The Heritage Foundation’s virtual event Wednesday, the Protecting Children in Education Summit. Participants break down proposed leftist curriculum and address how Americans can stand against the sexualization of children.

We’ll hear from Irene H. Ericksen, senior research analyst at the Institute for Research & Evaluation; Monica Cline, a former sex educator with Planned Parenthood who founded the group It Takes a Family; and Mary Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Serving as moderator for the discussion is Jonathan Butcher, senior policy analyst at Heritage’s Center for Education Policy.

Supreme Court Has Imperiled Parents’ Right to Pass Their Values on to Children

Heritage Foundation

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton, which ruled that the Title VII prohibition on sex discrimination in employment extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status, is likely to have more widespread implications than many people realize.

Many (including Justice Samuel Alito in his scathing dissent) warn that the ruling may undermine religious freedom and freedom of speech, as well as women’s athletics and women’s privacy in bathrooms and lockers rooms. Yet few have considered how Bostock may imperil the fundamental right of parents to educate their children in line with their values.

New Homeschoolers: Outlandish Restrictions Proliferate

Home School Legal Defense Foundation

In Indiana, officials in several different school corporations have told parents that they must fill out the non-accredited nonpublic school withdrawal form that is only for high school students. Most of these parents were withdrawing elementary school students.

A family in the state’s Plymouth Community School Corporation was repeatedly harassed by school officials, receiving up to three calls a week. In these calls the respective school principals urged the family not to pull their children out of the district. The last straw was a 30-minute call warning that if the family did not forego homeschooling, officials would “contact the state and see what they have to say about this.”

Homeschool organization says public schools are blocking parents from withdrawing kids

FOX News

T.J. Schmidt, a lawyer for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which provides legal services to help parents meet requirements for transitioning children from public school to homeschool, said he's noticed an uptick in the number of parents trying to pull their kids from public school. And public schools, he said, are pushing back.
"We see this across the country," Schmidt said. "I've had school officials attempt to prevent or dissuade parents from pulling their kids out."

Allies for parental rights

World

Homeschool advocacy groups have long followed parental rights cases since they often have ties to home education. The history of homeschooling is filled with tales of parents persecuted for wanting to educate their children at home. But homeschool advocacy groups typically get involved when a case relates more closely to homeschooling than Clay’s does, said Jim Mason, vice president of litigation and development for the Home School Legal Defense Association and president of the Parental Rights Foundation.

Clay’s custody battle is an exception, Mason said, but that could change: “We expect to see more of these kinds of cases with the breakup of the family and changing societal definitions of what constitutes a family.”

What You Need to Know About Religious School Case at the Supreme Court

Daily Signal

Should families be able to use school choice tax credits on religious schools? That’s the question that’s at the heart of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which the Supreme Court is hearing Wednesday. Heritage Foundation legal scholar and host of the podcast “SCOTUS 101” Elizabeth Slattery breaks down the case for us.

Wisconsin Parents Sue To Keep Schools From Hiding Their Kids’ Gender Dysphoria

The Federalist

Wisconsin’s second-largest school district so far won’t back off a policy of keeping minor students’ transgender experimentation secret from their parents despite a new lawsuit filed Tuesday.

A group of parents represented by Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty sued after the Madison Metropolitan School District refused to alter its policy of concealing childrens’ transgender behavior and related medical records from parents, no matter how young the child is. The district oversees children as young as preschoolers, and teaches gender identity politics to all ages, which research suggests may contribute to children identifying as transgender.

Supreme Court Is Poised to Deliver a Victory to School Choice Advocates

Public Discourse by Mark Movsesian

Nonetheless, over the course of recent decades, the Court has become more accepting of the idea that state financial aid may reach religiously affiliated schools. For example, the Court has ruled that the Establishment Clause does not prevent a state from providing financial assistance on a neutral basis to parents, some of whom then use the assistance to help pay tuition at religiously affiliated schools. In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), the Court held that a voucher program that gave parents the option to use state financial assistance at religiously affiliated schools did not violate the Establishment Clause, since the assistance reached the schools “wholly as a result of” the parents’ “own genuine and independent choice.” Such indirect aid for religiously affiliated schools, the Court held, is constitutionally permissible.

Image by Markus Winkler

Laws

 
Parental Rights Amendment

The Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would protect the parent's "liberty to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children."

History of the Amendment

The Parental Rights Amendment was first proposed in 2009 in response to the threat posed by a UN treaty called the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The treaty was ratified in 1989 by every member nation except the United States and Somalia. Currently, the United States is the only nation left who has not ratified the treaty.

The treaty recognizes children as "social, economic, political, civil, and cultural actors." The treaty grants to children the right to make their own decisions regarding their education and healthcare even if these decisions go against the beliefs of their parents or legal guardians.  

In Nannies in Blue Berets: Understanding the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child , Alliance Defending Freedom CEO Michael Farris explains the treaty's power to override the United States law and enforce its precepts. A committee appointed by the UN would have the authority to interpret the treaty as they see fit and their rulings would have binding weight on US courts and legislatures. 

In January of 2019, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) re-introduced the Parental Rights Amendment:

"Parents ought to have the right to direct the education and upbringing of their children, regardless of where they live.  Without fundamentally guaranteeing the parental rights with a constitutional amendment, these natural rights of parents are left to the discretion and interpretation of government bureaucrats and elected officials.  As the father of three young girls, I find the continual erosion of parental oversight and care in their children’s lives unacceptable, and I urge my colleagues to join me in solidifying parental rights as a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution.” 

Supreme Court doctrine
Protecting parental rights in the court room
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Perspectives

Absurdity of U.N. treaty on child's rights

Commentary by Michael Farris - published by WND

Child-rights advocates seeking to convince the U.S. Senate and the American public to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC, are pursuing a curious line of reasoning. They say we can ratify the treaty, which preempts parents’ fundamental rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children, without incurring binding legal obligations. They argue that American legislators will choose how much, if any, of the treaty to implement.
Jonathan Todres, a professor at Georgia State, told the Associated Press that American parental rights would be safe because U.N. treaties contain “no enforcement mechanisms or penalties.” Meg Gardinier, who chairs a coalition of groups supporting the U.S. ratification of the treaty, told the AP, “No U.N. treaty will ever usurp the national sovereignty of this country.”
This smacks of the kind of American diplomacy the Left demonizes whenever conservatives suggest that America “can go its own way.” Ratify the treaty, they say. It’s not legally binding. We can choose what to obey and what not to.
This argument is not only patently hypocritical, it is legally wrong.

Nannies in Blue Berets: Understanding the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

By Michael Farris for Alliance Defending Freedom and Homeschool Legal Defense Fund

Ten things you need to know about the structure of the CRC:
1. It is a treaty which creates binding rules of law. It is no mere statement of altruism.
2. Its effect would be binding on American families, courts, and policy-makers.
3. Children of other nations would not be impacted or helped in any direct way by our ratification.
4. The CRC would automatically override almost all American laws on children and families because of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in Article VI.
5. The CRC has some elements that are self-executing, others would require implementing legislation. Federal courts would have the power to determine which provisions were self-executing.

Who Should Decide How Children Are Educated?

By Jack Klenk for Family Research Council

Who has the primary responsibility for making critical decisions about the education of school-aged children? Their parents? Or government and the school system it operates? That is a fundamental question about education policy that faces the United States as it attempts to build educational institutions for the twenty-first century.
Parents pay for public education through mandatory taxes. Most send their children to public schools, attend parent-teacher meetings, encourage their children to do homework, and bake cookies for school events. However, decisions about what schools their children attend and what education programs the schools use are typically made by the system’s own professionals. In short, parents fund, support, and cooperate with the school system, but having power over their children’s education is another thing altogether.

​Rights of parents are under assault: Amend the Constitution

Rosemary Fernandez Stein, MD

The issue is quite complex and cannot be solved well by one piece of legislation that gives parents the ability to assist in the decision making in life ending situations. It is a start, though.
First and foremost the parent should always be given access to make decisions for their child where this is feasible and medically possible. Most of the problems are coming from single payer systems. This is another example of why it is of utter importance to remove the ACA.
Single payer and government sponsored healthcare work against parental rights. Unless we deal with both issues, parental rights and Obamacare, Charlie Gard incidents will become common.
Leukemia was an incurable medical condition a few decades ago. The treatment for it was considered experimental as well. Now it is routine for children with this diagnosis to have excellent prognosis. I can cite many other similar examples.

The case of baby Charlie Gard: An act of bioethical aggression

First Things commentary by Wesley J. Smith

"These, Charlie’s, and many other similar cases I could recite, involving profoundly ill people of all ages, are examples of what is known in the bioethics trade as “futile care” or “medical futility”—or, as I call it, futile-care theory. FCT authorizes doctors to refuse or withdraw wanted life-sustaining medical treatment over the objections of family and patients when the doctors and/or a bioethics committee believe that the patient’s quality of life makes that life not worth living—or, lurking in the subtext, not worth the resources required to sustain it.
A couple of important points need to be made: We are not talking about an intervention without a potential physiological benefit to the patient—a medical determination. Rather, FCT constitutes a value judgment. As bioethicist Dr. Stuart Youngner once put it, “futility determinations will inevitably involve value judgments about: 1) whether low probability chances are worth taking; and 2) whether certain lives are of a quality worth living.”
Worse, FCT empowers strangers to make medicine’s most important and intimate health-care decisions. Deciding whether to accept or reject life-sustaining care is one of the most difficult medical choices. Under FCT, a patient’s decision—whether it be the desire of an infant patient’s guardians or written in an adult patient’s advance directive—matters less than institutional and professional opinions."

Limits to Parental Authority in Medical Decision Making

Christian Medical Association

Children are a gift from God to the family. Parents are entrusted with the responsibility to love, nurture, protect, and train for their children. In our society, when parents fail to carry out their fundamental responsibilities, the state is empowered to intervene to protect vulnerable children.
As physicians and dentists, we are obligated professionally to counsel parents regarding the health and safety of their children. In addition, we are obligated legally to report to the appropriate authorities instances of parental abuse or neglect.
We recognize that between the extremes of ideal child rearing and of abusive or negligent child rearing, there is a wide range of parental actions and choices which remains a matter of discretion. In regard to these discretionary matters, we must respect parental authority by working through the parents to improve the child’s welfare.
Some parents, acting on philosophical or religious beliefs may compromise appropriate medical care for their children. In professional encounters with these parents and children, we should attempt to honor their values and beliefs whenever possible. Nevertheless our obligation remains to oppose parental decisions that may significantly harm their children.

Concerns over concept of "futility"

Dr. Paul Hoehner

"While physicians and other healthcare providers can certainly render best objective judgment (and it is only a judgment in far too many cases) regarding physiologic futility, this must still be paired with value-judgments, judgments not simply limited to amorphous and ill-defined concepts as “quality of life.” These judgments can only best be expressed and formulated by those that know the patient best, in this instance the parent(s).
In our society, there are just too many competing value-assessments and different moral communities that families are embedded in to make any profession the arbiter of “what’s right.” The danger, especially as medical care is increasingly paid for and controlled by the government, these judgments will default to and be decided upon by the will and power of the state. There are also economic pressures within advanced medical care, particularly at the end of life and with life-sustaining treatments, that may dictate or unduly influence these decisions (as they already are).
And certainly, the trend in our society is away from family decisions and towards more and more control of children by government controlled programs and policies. I believe it’s imperative to put such safeguards in place, even at a federal level, prior to the issues arising."

Even Very Sick Children Deserve Medical Care: Why Every State Needs 'Simon's Law

Public Discourse commentary by Grace Emily Stark

"The impetus for the bill came from the death of an infant, Simon Crosier, who was born in 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri, with the chromosomal disorder Trisomy 18. Simon was born alive via C-section, and lived for three months with many complications, including a severe heart defect. After his death, Simon’s mother discovered that a DNR order had been written into Simon’s chart. This order had been placed there by Simon’s medical providers without the Crosiers’ knowledge or consent. Simon’s parents were also shocked to discover that only 'comfort feeds' had been authorized for their son, despite their hopes that Simon would grow large enough to be considered for heart surgery. "

 

Resources

 

"As a parent, you teach your children one worldview at home, but when they go to school, are they learning something else? You have the right to oversee your child's education and what they are taught in public school." Read more...

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"We are working to preserve parental rights through a Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as through state and federal legislation that will protect children by empowering parents." Read more...

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"Home School Legal Defense Association gives tens of thousands of families the freedom to homeschool without having to face legal threats alone." Read more...

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Marriage and family are the building blocks of all human civilization and the primary institutions of civil society. Read more...

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