New Year, Same Old Threats

This first week of January one doesn’t have to look too far to see a reminder similar to this one: “It’s a brand new year, a clean slate, a chance to start over.” Unfortunately, when it comes to your parental rights, we’re still dealing with the same reality we were a week ago, where your rights to make those vital decisions for your child too often depend on the good graces of someone—a doctor, a teacher, a social services investigator—who shouldn’t have that kind of power over your innocent family.

Now, all of these professions are worthy pursuits, and can play a key role in the very important task of catching or preventing actual child abuse or neglect. But too often a lax view of parental rights can lead to unwarranted intrusion into innocent families, as well.

Couple Loses Custody Because State Officials Believe Not Smart Enough
Take, for instance, the case of Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler of Redmond, Oregon, as recounted in a December 29 article at Intellectual Takeout. Per that account, the couple lost custody of their two children, ages 10-months and 4-years, without ever being accused of abuse or neglect. Amy and Eric have been fighting for the right to raise their children for nearly 4 years—almost all of their oldest son’s life—simply because state officials believe they are not smart enough to be parents.

Fabbrini’s IQ, according to the article, is 72, and Ziegler’s is 66. An average IQ is 100.

The couple have taken numerous nutrition and parenting classes mandated for them by the state in an effort to have their children returned. Consultation with an online nutritionist can help teach nutritional practices.

[Picture is of a news video on the story available here.]

“They can’t win for losing,” Circuit Judge Bethany Flint, who returned the 10-month-old to his parents’ care recently, told the author of that article, “noting that the state appeared to be using Ziegler and Fabbrini’s efforts to cooperate as evidence they were unfit.”

Their older son, though, Flint left in state care, “noting that he has been diagnosed with certain developmental hurdles.”

What this couple needs most—and may well already have (the article does not say)—is a support network to help them. But the state’s determination to call them unfit simply due to who they are goes too far.

This is why the proposed Parental Rights Amendment provides that “the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their child is a fundamental right,” and that “the parental rights guaranteed by this article shall not be denied or abridged on account of disability.”

Children Taken from Mom Without Any Accusation of Abuse or Neglect
Or consider the case of Tori Harper, a divorcee in Tennessee who lost custody of her children, also without any accusation of abuse or neglect, when she called in to report that her “3-year-old son told her something inappropriate happened to him when he was with his father,” according to an article at Fox17 Nashville.

The boys were returned to their mother after two months in state custody, but by all accounts they should never have been taken in the first place.

“Criminals have more rights than parents,” Tori’s attorney Connie Reguli told the Fox news reporter. “Once they have your children in the system they are in total control…. And while this may have a happy ending, there are scars and trauma, real trauma.”

This is another reason we are working to enshrine parental rights in the text of the U.S. Constitution: so that no family court, and no case worker, can ignore the extremely important nature of the parent-child relationship.

We Need YOUR Help to Fix This
Parents who have never been so much as accused of abuse or neglect should not have fewer rights than criminals charged with serious crimes. Instead, the proposed Amendment will command respect for this important parental role.

But we cannot hope to pass this measure without the growing support of the American people.

Together, we can protect children by championing the rights of loving parents like Amy, Eric, and Tori—parents just like you and me.

Thank you for standing with us to support the Parental Rights Amendment.


Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

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