A member of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a proposed constitutional amendment this week that would establish a "fundamental right" for parents to "direct the upbringing, education, and care" of their children.
The proposed amendment by U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) was applauded by leading religious liberty organizations, including Alliance Defending Freedom. Lesko leads the Protect Kids Caucus in the House.
"Parental rights are under attack across our nation," Lesko said.
The first sentence of the amendment states that the "liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right."
Will Estrada, the president of ParentalRights.org and a supporter of the proposed amendment, said, "parental rights are just too important to be left to Supreme Court precedent alone."
"This Amendment will enshrine these traditional rights in the black-and-white of the Constitution, preserving that parental role for generations to come," Estrada said.
Emilie Kao, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said the amendment would recognize that parents have the "fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children."
"Sadly, as parents have stood before local school boards and state legislatures across the country to claim that right, they've been met by government officials who declare themselves the ultimate determiners of what's best for children," Kao said. "This includes growing instances of schools actively hiding controversial curricula and critical information about children's mental and physical health from parents. Thankfully, a growing coalition of parents, leaders, and organizations is standing up for the protection of our children and the fundamental rights of parents."
The proposed amendment states:
The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.
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.
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.
The parental rights guaranteed by this article shall not be denied or abridged on account of disability.
This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.