The Parental Rights Dilemma
Editor’s Note: This post was originally written in 2013 [here], rewritten in 2017 [here], updated today 1/19/20. Find the amendment here.
In 2019, I became a CASA volunteer: Court Appointed Special Advocate. I've complained about CPS and the system for so long, I thought I should get involved and see how it all really works, from the inside. So I did.
It's only been a short time, but I can say for sure that CPS is understaffed and overworked... how could they possibly be doing such important work well??
The other thing that has really hit home is that it's absolutely necessary that someone be there for the kids who are neglected and abused. I'm not sure the State is the "right man for the job" for the reasons above. But somebody needs to be there.
It's a terrible dilemma. Because of my functional medicine training -- cure illness at the root instead of suppressing symptoms -- I want to do the same here. Cure at the root.
To me, the root is the family unit. Something has gone terribly wrong in our culture that families are not strong and functional. The 2-parents-kids formula is so very very broken.
And forget the extended family -- they are often scattered to the winds. And, if not, there is often very little effort to keep those bonds secure.
Working on the solution. I'll keep you posted :)
When I first heard of the Parental Rights Amendment, I was so excited!!! "YES!" I thought.
Then I read the amendment. IMO, it does NOT protect a parent's rights. It actually subjugates our rights to the State. The truth is this amendment might be the end of parental rights.
The completely bizarre aspect is that it was written by the well-meaning attorneys at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)! I have exchanged emails with them on the topic. They contend this amendment doesn’t give the State ultimate authority (see their letter on the original post here).
Why a Parental Rights Amendment at all?
This amendment was written originally because it appeared that international law concerning the "Rights of the CHILD" was about to precede the US Constitution and our parental rights! (See Section 3 of the original below.)
But do we need this amendment? The US Constitution GUARANTEES to protect our rights.
And there is no legal authority for ANY international law to precede ours. We are a sovereign nation, we make our own laws. Int'l "laws" certainly have no authority over US citizens even if a President tries to sign ours away.
Of course, government agents can squelch these rights using their legal monopoly on force. But they cannot take them away nor grant them to you.
Our rights do not come from government. We are born with them. They are ours by virtue of our humanity. In fact, EVERY human worldwide has these rights, every human is born with them. It's just that, in the US, our Constitution guarantees to protect our rights.
The Parental Rights Amendment
Original Parental Rights Amendment
SECTION 1 The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
SECTION 2 Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served. [Emphasis mine]
SECTION 3 No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.
Sounds good. I signed this one before I realized the dangers in the bolded section above.
Current Parental Rights Amendment
The part about Int'l law has been deleted. Sections 2, 4 & 5 are new.
SECTION 1 The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.
SECTION 2 The parental right to direct education includes the right to choose, as an alternative to public education, private, religious, or home schools, and the right to make reasonable choices within public schools for one’s child.
SECTION 3 Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe these rights without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served. [Emphasis mine]
SECTION 4 The parental rights guaranteed by this article shall not be denied or abridged on account of disability.
SECTION 5 This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life. [Emphasis mine]
Why the Parental Rights Amendment is concerning:
About Section 3
“Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest … is of the highest order and not otherwise served.”
This section actually subjugates parents’ rights to a governmental interest! IOW, parents have the fundamental right UNTIL a government agency demonstrates its interest is of “the highest order”, higher than yours.
About Section 5
"This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life."
I assume they mean murder, but this can also be about medical decisions. Most parents don't know this but you are required to treat your children's illness according to a conventional medical doctor's decision. You may not treat your child's medical diagnosis with alternative measures.
You are often forbidden to seek a second opinion from a doctor who does not work in a hospital.
Shouldn't your child's medical treatment be between you and the doctor of your choice? Sticky wicket here...
Other reasons to oppose the Parental Rights Amendment
“Parenting” is not one of the federal government’s 17 enumerated authorities, meaning it has no authority to legislate parenting.
This amendment will make it legal for the state to take away your child if
you don’t fully vaccinate according to the state’s schedule
your child is homeschooled and the state disagrees with your methods or timing
The list of offenses for which parents have already lost their children is long. The HSLDA attorneys say this amendment will protect children from arbitrary takings. I contend it will make it easier.
The State routinely ignores the Constitution NOW. We parents already have protections and guarantees in place in that legal document. Why don't we get those in power to follow the Constitution now, as it's written?
PS. I have such admiration for the HSLDF and I have to say I wish they could convince me that I'm wrong about this. I'm just so concerned about the unintended consequences.
Washington Standard article makes different points, same conclusion.