Letters and Correspondence

Letter: Proposed “Parental Rights” Constitutional Amendment Undermines Protections for Children

Child Rights

On April 25, the First Focus Campaign for Children (FFCC) sent a letter to leaders on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in strong opposition to H.J.Res. 36, a proposal by Rep. Jim Banks to create an amendment to the U.S. Constitution on “parental rights.” In the letter, FFCC underscores the importance of parents and families to the upbringing, education, and well-being of children, but opposes the proposed constitutional amendment because the language undermines even “the most limited current protections for children” in recognizing their rights, best interest, and voice in public law. H.J.Res. 36 would, in fact, “create greater threats to the safety, health, and well-being of children” because the “parental rights” language preempts any protections for children absent a government interest of the “highest order” or “a parental action or decision that would end life.”

As the letter explains, “The consequence of the silencing or dismissal of the voices of children about the harm they experience and their needs has the effect of protecting the abusers, which include parents, government, and private institutions, rather than the children. If policymakers are to take actions that impact children, it should be to take action in their ‘best interest,’ to protect them from harm, and, at the very least, to do no harm. Unfortunately, H.J.Res. 36 undermines the fundamental rights, protections, and voice of children and would do harm. It should be rejected.”

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