A proposed U.S. Constitutional Amendment.
|Hoekstra + co-sponsors @ 2010-09-20|
|H.J.R 42 Sponsors by Party|
First, some background. For many years the Christian Right in America have campaigned against international human rights treaties, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It is this treaty that is the target of the Parental Rights Amendment. During George W. Bush's 2nd term, Congressman Peter Hoekstra proposed a 'Parental Rights' amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The bill died at the committee stage. The bill was re-submitted in 2009 and accumulated 141 co-sponsors (see the table above). Once again, the bill died at the committee stage.
NOTE: Although Tom Graves replaced Nathan Deal as representative for Georgia's 9th congressional district in June 2010 the official list of sponsors shows both names as co-sponsors. Links to sponsor bios can be found in the Wikipedia article Current members of the United States House of Representatives.
The bill has been re-introduced in the 112th Congress.
See H.J.RES.3 on the Library of Congress website.
That's not the text of the Parents' Rights Amendment, above, that's Article 5 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Parental Rights Amendment (H.J.RES.42) says:
Section 2. Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
Section 3. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.
Section 1 – would not be undermined if the USA ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Section 2 – it's hard to imagine the Supreme Court allowing this to weaken the powers of the Child Protection Services in each State.
Section 3 is an attempt to block internationally recognized standards of human rights for children from being applied in the United States.
Hoekstra's Parental Rights Amendment makes absolutely no mention of parental responsibilities or duties.
So what happens when parents disregard their responsibilities? What happens if they abuse their children, neglect them or even kill them? Sadly, it occurs all too frequently. There's a blog which collects news reports about... parents who treat their children badly.
Many members of the House will have seen news coverage of these tragedies. Is it likely they'll agree that children's rights and parental responsibilities can safely be left out of a constitutional amendment?