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Parents’ Rights Are Human Rights — How America’s Parents Are Reclaiming Their Voice

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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From the school board to the operating room, transgender rights for children erode parental rights, forcing parents to fight back and reclaim their voices.

Parents realize that their vote can determine whether their fundamental rights are safeguarded or discarded. Depending on which state a family resides in, a parent could either have the power to prevent medical experimentation from being performed on their children, or be forced to sit back and watch the state-sanctioned transgender revolution devour them.

The starkest example of this comes from the opposite sides of the U.S. coast.

West Coast

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Thursday that strips out-of-state parents’ rights to decide whether children with sexuality and gender identity issues can be medically treated. California gave itself the power to take “temporary emergency jurisdiction” over a child seeking transgender drugs or surgeries.

The author of California bill SB107, Democratic California state Sen. Scott Wiener said the legislation would shield parents from states that outlaw the practice of prescribing harmful puberty blockers and sex-reassignment surgeries for minors if they choose to come to California for those procedures.

Parents (or legal guardians) can go to California for irreversible procedures to be performed on their transgender children and be protected from prosecution against these practices in their home state. But that’s not all it does. The new law authorizes the court to take custody of a child who is denied “gender-affirming health care.” (RELATED: ‘All Options Are On The Table’: Dozens Of Tennessee Republicans Push Hospital To Halt Gender Surgeries For Kids)

“A court of this State has temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in this state and the child has been abandoned, or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to, or threatened with, mistreatment or abuse, or because the child has been unable to obtain gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care,” SB 107 stated.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel and Vice President of Advocacy Strategy Emilie Kao said “the fundamental right” parents have “to direct the upbringing and care of their children, which includes making the best decisions regarding their child’s mental, emotional, and physical health,” is erased in the new California Law.

“California’s dangerous and extreme new law is the latest in an onslaught of attacks against parental rights and a demonstration of just how far some governments are willing to go to replace parents as the ultimate decisionmakers of what’s best for children. In an astonishing disregard for the Constitution and the laws of other states, California will now be able to take away custody of children from their own parents — no matter what state they’re from — and deny families the right to access their child’s medical information,” Kao said.

“ADF and the Promise to America’s Parents Coalition, which represents millions of parents across the country, will continue to fight for the ability of parents to raise their children in accordance with their beliefs and values and the best evidence from science and medicine,” Kao added.

East Coast

In Virginia, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin personifies what parents can accomplish when voting for candidates who promise to protect their rights. Youngkin’s gubernatorial win was largely predicated on his campaign to safeguard parents’ rights.

In his most recent move to that end, Youngkin updated the “model policies” for the Virginia Department of Education on Sept. 16 that outlined new procedures for how to deal with transgender students and the rights of parents to decide on the best treatment. The Virginia DoE said the previous administration’s policies for treating transgender students “disregarded the rights of parents and ignored other legal and constitutional principles that significantly impact how schools educate students, including transgender students.”

Under the new “guiding principles” section, the Virginia DoE will create policies that affirm that “parents have the right to make decisions concerning their children.” (RELATED: Student Group Staging Walkouts Over Virginia’s Trans Guidance Pushed Pro-Abortion, Gun Reform Bills Funded By Dems)

“Parents have the right to instill in and nurture values and beliefs for their own children and make decisions concerning their children’s education and upbringing in accordance with their customs, faith and family culture,” stated the 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for all Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools.

The new policies require schools to defer to parents to make the best decisions for their children and keep parents informed about their well-being. Even the definition of a “transgender student” requires parental involvement. “The phrase ‘transgender student’ shall mean a public school student whose parent has requested in writing due to their child’s persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs from his or her sex, that their child be identified while at school,” the new model policies stated.

In an opinion piece for the Washinton Examiner, former Clinton White House staffer (and “lifelong Democrat”) Emily Curtis praised Youngkin’s move to promote parental involvement in education. “I am grateful that he kept his campaign promise to uphold the constitutionally guaranteed right of parents to determine how their children will be raised and educated – and that he did so in an even-handed manner that does not pass judgment on the specific values that parents wish to instill in their children,” Curtis said.

Youngkin also defended the new guidelines in an interview with CNBC during the Alpha Conference on Thursday when CNBC reporter Ylan Mui asked Youngkin his response to students who say the new policies take away their rights.

“The context of this is that we had existing policy frameworks that specifically did not include parents in these decisions that are extremely important in children’s lives, and, in fact, enabled schools to say that parents would specifically not be informed by decisions that children are making. And voters spoke loudly in Virginia last year that parents matter, and I believe that parents should be fundamentally engaged in this,” Youngkin said.

The updated policies regarding transgender students merely align Virginia DoE guidelines with state law, according to Youngkin. “So in this case, what we have done with draft policies is reestablish parents’ fundamental role in making these decisions with their child, by the way, not at the exclusion of a trusted teacher or a trusted counselor, but at the end of the day, it’s a parent and a child,” he responded.

“It’s about families,” Youngkin added. “You know, I think it’s really clear that children don’t belong to the state; they belong to families.”