The word "rights" has come up repeatedly during this year’s state legislative session, with debate about everything from gun rights to women’s rights.
I’ve noticed, however, that there’s been little outcry over proposed legislation affecting parental rights.
Information from Home School Legal Defense Association and www.parentalrights.org made me aware of Assembly bill A497, which seeks to amend a section of the public health law pertaining to the treatment of minors for sexually transmissible diseases without parental consent or knowledge. That’s right — New York already allows this.
The Assembly proposes an addition to the law to allow health-care practitioners to administer treatment — including vaccines — to children under 18 to prevent sexually transmissible diseases, without parental knowledge or consent. The stipulation is that the child must have the capacity to give consent, without regard to age.
The way I read it, my 7-year-old son — who by law cannot consent to having sex — can consent to being vaccinated against a disease that is spread through sexual activity.
And he need only have the ability to say the word "yes" — without understanding what he is agreeing to — to receive a human papilloma virus vaccination, for example.
Although I attend his well-child visits, would I be told to leave the room so he can be asked whether he wants the vaccine? Would that question be posed to him when I am not in his presence, say in a public-school health office or if he is ever hospitalized?
I’m becoming more conscious of the ways in which public entities are encroaching on parents’ rights to bring up their children.
Fit parents are the best teachers, nurturers and protectors of their children and need to be left alone to live out their God-given responsibilities.