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Twelve States Have Introduced Bills to Affirm Parental Rights. More Bills Are Expected.

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Rebecca Hain: 513-479-3335


Twelve States Have Introduced Bills to Affirm Parental Rights. More Bills Are Expected.

WASHINGTON / February 6, 2023 – Following reports of secretive school policies that marginalize and exclude parents, parental rights has become a hot-button issue across the United States (1). For example, the New York Times recently published an article highlighting the concerns of parents who were kept in the dark about their child’s gender dilemmas (2).

In response, 12 states have introduced bills in the past month designed to affirm and strengthen parents’ rights. These bills can be classified in terms of whether they affirm fundamental principles of parental rights, assure parental notification, address curriculum and instruction issues, or relate to gender transitioning of children:

Fundamental Principles

Alabama: H.B. 6 prohibits the government from burdening certain fundamental rights of parents (3).

Hawaii: H.B. 1393 states, “Each parent in the State shall have the right to direct the upbringing, education, care, and welfare of the parent’s child.” (4)

Indiana: H.B. 1407 affirms no government entity shall “infringe on the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of the parent’s child” without a “compelling governmental interest of the highest order.” (5)

Minnesota:  H.F. 682 seeks to amend the state Constitution to affirm that parents have a fundamental right to “direct the education of their child.” (6)

Mississippi: H.B. 509 states, “The liberty of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of that parent’s child is a fundamental right.” (7)

New Hampshire: H.B. 10 establishes a “parental bill of rights.” (8)

North Dakota: H.B. 1403 prohibits “governmental entities from interfering with parental rights.” (9)

South Carolina: H. 3485 includes a provision that the government “shall not substantially burden the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of that parent’s child….” (10)

Texas: HJR 58 proposes an amendment to the state constitution that states in part: “A parent has the right to direct the education of the parent’s child…” (11)

Parental Notification

Indiana: S.B. 413 proposes that schools “may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in decisions affecting a student’s social emotional, behavioral, mental, or physical health.” (12)

South Carolina: H. 3197 states that no public school employee shall “withhold from a child’s parent information that is relevant to the physical, emotional, or mental health of the child.” (13)

Texas: H.B. 61 affirms: “The Texas Education Agency shall adopt procedures for notifying a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.” (14)

Utah: S.B. 100 states that “each school and each local governing board shall ensure that no policy or action of the school or LEA [local education agency]: (a) operates to shield any student’s information from the student’s parent.” (15)

Curriculum and Instruction

Indiana: H.B. 1608 states that teachers may not provide instruction on ambiguous concepts of “gender identity” to children in grades K–3. (16)

Missouri: S.B. 4 says that parents have a “right to know what their minor child is being taught in school including, but not limited to, curricula, books, source materials, and other instructional materials.” (17)

Oklahoma: S.B. 95 states no school “may provide any sexually explicit material…to a student …without written consent from the student’s parent or legal guardian.” (18)

Gender Transitioning

Indiana: H.B. 1407 protects a parent’s right to raise “the child consistent with the child’s biological sex” and to decline to consent to the child undergoing gender transitioning. (5)

Additional parental rights bills are expected be introduced in the near future in other states (19). A listing of current lawsuits, federal court rulings, and model legislation is available on the SAVE website (20).