The War Against Parental Rights

The war against the fundamental, constitutional right of fit parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children is all around us in this twenty-first century. While we at THSC have recently focused on the continued abuse of the Tutt family by CPS and judges in Dallas County, it is by no means the only battle raging against parents in the war over whether government entities, or judges, or even doctors are the ones who should decide what is best for children, rather than their parents. Please continue to pray for the Tutts.

For example, some reports last week noted that the Parliament in Scotland approved the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and some reports stated that the state would assign a government official to follow each child from birth. Countries that have adopted this UN Treaty have turned the rights of parents upside down in order to focus on what the government thinks children should have.

In Massachusetts there is the case of Justina Pelletier, who was a 14-year-old from Connecticut last year when she was taken from her parents by CPS after hospital officials at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) disagreed with the diagnosis of her doctors at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Tufts doctors had diagnosed the child with mitochondrial disease, a condition that prevents the body’s cells from properly producing energy. BCH doctors instead said Justina’s problem was psychological and they placed her in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. When Justina’s parents tried to remove her and take her back to Tufts, CPS was called, and a judge placed Justina under the authority of the state. She spent a year in the psychiatric ward at BCH.

The judge in this case placed a “gag order,” prohibiting anyone involved in the case from speaking publicly about it to anyone. The parents were allowed a one-hour, weekly visit with their daughter. The father, after a year, violated that gag order in order to tell the public what the hospital officials and CPS were doing with his daughter. Media attention has resulted in public pressure to allow the parents to have their daughter back so they can take her back to her doctors at Tufts. Judges, of course, always justify such actions as doing what they believe is “in the best interests of the child.” However, Justina’s father is now facing legal charges from the court for making this travesty public. We should pray for this family and make others aware of this battle for Justina and for the right of her parents to make decisions for her.

In New Jersey an 18 year-old filed suit against her parents, asking the court to force them to pay for her private school tuition and living expenses, after she left their home because she refused to abide by their house rules and filed a false claim of abuse with CPS. Her parents said that their daughter had numerous issues, including suspension from school, underage drinking, credit card theft, and bullying her siblings, and that she left home voluntarily. Another family had taken her in and was paying for her legal action against her parents.

Thankfully, Morris County (New Jersey) Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied Rachel’s lawsuit, noting it would set a bad precedent by setting limits on parenting. He said, “Do we want to establish a precedent where parents live in basic fear of establishing rules of the house?”

In the United States, not only is the parental rights issue appearing at the state level, it is now showing up at the federal level as well. The home schooling community has been closely following the case of the German home schooling family, the Romeikes, who fled Germany in 2008 to prevent the taking of their children by the national government, which does not allow home schooling. In 2010 a U.S. federal judge granted them political asylum, but the Obama Administration sought an appeal to overturn that decision and was successful. The administration argued that the German government was simply applying a law equally to everyone and had the right to do so. The family lost their appeal in 2013 when the judge said, “The German authorities have not singled out the Romeikes in particular or home schoolers in general for persecution.”  On Monday, March 3, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a requested hearing to appeal that order, which had the effect of upholding the denial by the lower courts. However, on March 4 the U. S. Department of Homeland Security told media sources that it had decided to grant the family “indefinite deferred status,” allowing them to stay in the United States.

What is the lesson here? It is that public awareness and political pressure are often the means of bringing about justice in such situations when those who are required to dispense justice fairly refuse to do so. We must continue to make the public aware of these attacks against the fundamental, constitutional rights of parents and fight this war on every front. THSC continues to pursue every legal remedy available for the Tutts and in the meantime we will continue to call on elected officials to reign in those who violate parental rights in the name of “the best interests of children.”

Thank you for your continued prayers and actions on behalf of the Tutts and all the parents of Texas.