Education

Parental Rights Amendment Introduced

By Michele Molnar — June 06, 2012 2 min read

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) yesterday jointly introduced a proposed amendment about parental rights to the U.S. Constitution.

This marks the third straight session of Congress in which the Parental Rights Amendment has been introduced.

The wording of the proposed amendment is as follows:

SECTION 1: The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.

SECTION 2: Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

SECTION 3: This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life.

SECTION 4: 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.

Rep. Franks, who chairs the Constitution Subcommittee, released a statement explaining his support: “In my three decades of public service, I have consistently focused on protecting the right of parents to make decisions for their children. Put simply, there are really only two options when it comes to who will determine the substance of a child’s education: it will be either a bureaucrat who doesn’t know the child’s name, or a parent who would pour out their last drop of blood for the child.

“Nothing is more important to America’s future than making sure that the education of the hearts and minds of our children is securely in the purview of the parents who love and understand them most.”

Sen. DeMint, in his own statement, said: “We must protect the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Unfortunately, parental rights are under attack, and a safeguard like this amendment is necessary. Neither the federal government nor international law should micromanage how parents are able to raise their children. Parents are best equipped to decide how their children are raised and educated, not bureaucrats from Washington and the United Nations.”

Pushing for the adoption of the Parental Rights Amendment is an organization called ParentalRights.org, which also opposes the United Nations’ Conventions on the Rights of the Child and which organizes grassroots efforts for the amendment.

“The PRA had 141 cosponsors in the House during the last session of Congress, but we expect to see even more support this time around,” says Michael Farris, an attorney and president of ParentalRights.org.

“The Supreme Court has accurately said that parental rights are ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by [the] Court,’ yet those rights now lack sufficient legal protection under the Constitution,” Farris continues. “Thanks to concerned citizens and engaged leaders in Congress, we look forward to correcting that problem through the adoption of this amendment.”

The path to adoption of an amendment to the constitution is a long and arduous one. The last one to be enacted is the 27th Amendment, which prevents laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until the beginning of the next session of Congress, and it went into effect 20 years ago.

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.

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