Parental Rights in Alabama

Alabama State Law

At Risk

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

2016: HB112 proposing a parental rights amendment to the Alabama Constitution of 1901, was introduced by Rep. Matt Fridy with 12 cosponsors on Feb. 3. It was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee; no further action was taken.

2015: SB135 was introduced by Sen. Sanford on March. 3, 2015, to preserve the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their child. It passed the Senate Health Committee on April 15 by a 5-1 vote. Companion bill HB213 was introduced by Rep. Butler with 18 cosponsors on March 10. It was scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on April 1, but was not voted on in committee.

2014: SB 203, a statute to preserve fundamental parental rights, was introduced by Sen. Sanford on January 15, 2014. The bill died in committee.

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Alabama Courts

"Strict Scrutiny" Applied to Parental Rights

Alabama 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 Ex parte E.R.G., 73 So.3d 634, 648-49 (Ala. 2011), the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that, despite Troxel, "the State must have a compelling interest to justify encroaching on the fundamental right of a parent to decide what is in the best interests of his or her child,"  (id. at 649).