Parental Rights Amendment
Introduced in Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // October 18, 2022 // Washington, DC – Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) today introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives an amendment to the United States Constitution to enshrine the traditional liberty of parents to direct a child’s upbringing, education, and care as a fundamental right.

Lesko, who heads the Protect Kids Caucus in the House, believes protecting this traditional role of parents is key to keeping children healthy and safe. “Parental rights are under attack across our nation,” Lesko says. “I am pleased to have the support of ParentalRights.org in introducing this crucial amendment to the U.S. Constitution to enshrine parents’ fundamental right to have a say in their children’s education, and I will continue to advocate for protecting children and empowering parents in Congress.”

Will Estrada, the president of ParentalRights.org and the Parental Rights Foundation, declared, “The Supreme Court has recognized parental rights for a century, but parental rights are just too important to be left to Supreme Court precedent alone. This Amendment will enshrine these traditional rights in the black-and-white of the Constitution, preserving that parental role for generations to come. We are honored to work with Rep. Lesko to protect children by making this Amendment a reality.”

“The Supreme Court in 1923 said ‘the child is not the mere creature of the State,’ but many of today’s bureaucrats have lost sight of that,” says Jim Mason, chairman of the board for the Parental Rights Foundation and ParentalRights.org. “This Amendment will permanently codify that precedent and restore a proper respect for the vital parent-child bond in America.”

The House joint resolution to introduce the Amendment will receive a bill number in the next couple of days. (Editor's note: House Joint Resolution 99) It marks the eighth straight Congress in which the Amendment has been introduced. 

Media inquiries can be directed to Media@parentalrights.org.

Text of the Amendment

SECTION 1
The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.

SECTION 2
The parental right to direct education includes the right to choose, as an alternative to public education, private, religious, or home schools, and the right to make reasonable choices within public schools for one's child.

SECTION 3
Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe these rights without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

SECTION 4
The parental rights guaranteed by this article shall not be denied or abridged on account of disability.

SECTION 5
This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life.

Why We Need the
Parental Rights Amendment

For almost 100 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the traditional role of parents in directing the care, custody, and control of their minor children. In Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Court declared that parental rights have been “established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.” 406 US 205, 232 (1972) 

Despite this, many government actors and agencies today are working overtime to substitute a parent’s decisions with the government worker’s own view of what is best for a given child. From schools to hospitals to child welfare investigators, “experts” think they know what’s best for your child better than you do.

And while this has been going on for decades, we have all become painfully aware of it since the recent pandemic, when many learned for the first time just how much power the government wants to have over our children.

Yet, every child is unique; no one knows or loves a child better than his or her own parents. Mom or Dad, you are the expert on your child.

The Parental Rights Amendment will protect the traditional role of parents as long recognized by the US Supreme Court, restoring the proper balance of parental authority against government decision-making. This fundamental right is so important that we cannot rely on just Supreme Court precedent. Parental rights must be established beyond debate in the black and white of the text of the U.S. Constitution. And that is exactly what the Parental Rights Amendment will accomplish. 

By empowering parents—those who know and love their children best—the Amendment will protect children from misinformed, cookie-cutter bureaucracy.

What You Can Do

Right now, you can promote the Parental Rights Amendment (H.J.Res.99) in Congress by encouraging your own U.S. representative to sign on as a cosponsor to the resolution. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Check the current list of cosponsors at Congress.gov to see if your representative is already a cosponsor. If not, proceed to step 2. (The list won’t be available right away. Until it is, you may assume your lawmaker is not on it and proceed to step 2.)
  2. Find your representative’s contact information here.
  3. Email or call your representative’s office. Tell their staff that you are a constituent and that you are urging your member of Congress to contact Bobby Bravo in Rep. Debbie Lesko’s office to sign on as a cosponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment. (We’ll provide the bill number here as soon as we have it, too – that will help.)

Your message can simply be something like this:

I live in Rep. _____’s district, and I value the role of parents in the life of a child. I’m calling to urge my representative to contact Bobby Bravo in Rep. Debbie Lesko’s office and sign on as a cosponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment. Parents, not the government, have the fundamental right to decide what is best for their child. Please sign on to cosponsor this vital safeguard for my children and for America’s families.

You can also download a one-page factsheet about the Amendment to print or share online.

What Others Are Saying

"The Supreme Court in 1923 said ‘the child is not the mere creature of the State,’ but many of today’s bureaucrats have lost sight of that. This Amendment will permanently codify that precedent and restore a proper respect for the vital parent-child bond in America."

James R. Mason, Esq., President, Home School Legal Defense Association


"Children belong to families. They don't belong to the government. This constitutional amendment preserves parents' fundamental right to direct the upbringing and care of their children, and protects parents' rights to choose the education that best meets their children's needs. Children thrive when parents have the freedom and right to select from a wide array of educational options."

Ginny Gentles, Senior Policy Analyst, Independent Women's Voice

"Parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children. Sadly, as parents have stood before local school boards and state legislatures across the country to claim that right, they’ve been met by government officials who declare themselves the ultimate determiners of what’s best for children. This includes growing instances of schools actively hiding controversial curricula and critical information about children’s mental and physical health from parents. Thankfully, a growing coalition of parents, leaders, and organizations is standing up for the protection of our children and the fundamental rights of parents. We are grateful to Rep. Lesko for joining this movement by introducing this important proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution. Parents have a right to raise and educate their children consistent with their beliefs and values. Such a vital and fundamental right warrants explicit protection in our Constitution."

Emilie Kao, Senior Counsel and Vice President of Advocacy Strategy, Alliance Defending Freedom