Parental Rights in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Parental Rights News

NE Bill Successfully Vetoed

Alfie Evans Update, State Laws, and More News!

May 1, 2018

The parental rights effort is a lot like raising preschoolers: every once in a while, things that were calm and quiet suddenly explode with activity. For parental rights, this week is wrapping up one of those furious months. ALFIE EVANS – PULLED FROM LIFE SUPPORT AGAINST PARENTS’ WISHES Photo Credit: #AlfiesArmy @Alfiesarmy16 The inescapable parental…

Be sure to sign up for alerts!

Pennsylvania State Law and Parental Rights

At Risk

Pennsylvania does not have a state statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights as fundamental rights.

2015-16: Rep. Tallman, with 12 cosponsors, introduced HB1512, a bill to protect parental rights, on Aug. 26, 2015. It was referred to the Committee on Children and Youth, but it did not receive a hearing.

Don't Miss a Critical Issue!

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to keep posted on parental rights in both your state and nationwide. Through our volunteer network, we monitor the law in all the states. We then pass on important updates and action items.

Pennsylvania Courts and Parental Rights

"Strict Scrutiny" Applied to Parental Rights

Pennsylvania courts have repeatedly recognized the rights of parents to oversee the care of their children as a fundamental right deserving of the strict scrutiny standard. However, this precedent is subject to change.

  • In Schmehl v. Wegelin, 927 A.2d 183, 188 (Pa. 2007), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that "any infringement of such right [parental rights] requires strict scrutiny review to determine whether the infringement is supported by a compelling state interest and if the infringement is narrowly tailored to effectuate that interest," citing Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, at 65.
  • D.P. v. G.J.P., 2016 Pa. LEXIS 2003 (Pa. Sept. 9, 2016):

"There is no dispute that Section 5325 burdens the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children; that such right is a fundamental one; and that, as such, it is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment's due-process and equal-protection guarantees. In light of these factors there is also no disagreement that, to survive a due process or equal protection challenge, Section 5325 must satisfy the constitutional standard known as strict scrutiny.

"The basic features of strict scrutiny, relating to whether the governmental action is narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest, are well established." (Internal citations omitted.)