Protecting Your Children, Empowering You: The Parental Rights Amendment

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In 2012, thirteen year old Justina Pelletier was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, a disorder affecting 1 in every 4,000 children in the United States. When she developed a severe flu in February 2013, her parent’s parents took her to Boston Children’s Hospital. Doctors, who were not her regular physicians and were unfamiliar with her case, replaced her mito diagnosis with one of somatoform disorder, a psychiatric condition. When her parents disagreed, the hospital accused them of “medical abuse” – for following the instructions of their own licensed and respected physicians! The state of Massachusetts removed Justina from their custody and placed her in a foster home…  

The vibrant 15-year old ice skater deteriorated. No longer able to walk, she was confined to a wheelchair. She spent her days in constant pain that her new custodians told her was all in her mind. Meanwhile, her loving parents were powerless to help her, denied their right to make potentially life-saving decisions for their daughter. The nightmare dragged on for over a year. She was in the custody of the state of Massachusetts for 16 months and 4 days because her parents agreed with her regular medical team, and not the medical team at Boston Children’s hospital. Finally, in June of this year, the court ordered her to be sent back to her parents.

Though this may seem like a freak horror story, it is a very sad reality. Parents all across the nation are running into roadblocks they didn’t know existed as they attempt to make wise decisions regarding their child’s safety and healthcare. How can you keep this from becoming your family’s story?

To understand that, we’ll need to look at a little background. Currently, the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is presented as a fundamental but implied right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. One of the main reasons that parental rights are in danger today is due to their status as implied rights. That’s because the meaning of an implied right is never entirely stable. Since parental rights are implied rights, the Court is free to redefine their meaning whenever it wishes.

Though they seem effective on the surface, both state constitutional amendments and state laws protecting parental rights are insufficient to fully protect the right of parents to raise their children, for the simple reason that the U.S. Constitution places treaties in a superior position in relation to state laws and constitutions. Additionally, the federal courts can undo any state level effort.

However, if the Parental Rights Amendment passes successfully, the right of parents to raise their children will become an explicit right and receive the highest protection in the federal courts. As an explicit right placed within the black-and-white text of the Constitution, the right of parents to raise their children will be protected by the federal courts as a fundamental right. This is not an excuse or loophole for parents to abuse their children – the amendment makes provisions for that (Click here to read the full text of the proposed amendment). It is a safeguard for loving parents to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children.

Remember though, the amendment isn’t in place yet. So what can you do to help?

  1. Sign the Petition and join’s email list. Click here to join our grassroots network and stay informed and receive alerts to contact Congress about the Amendment. Anyone 13 and up may join.
  2. Become a Congressional District Coordinator (Click here) There are 435 Congressional districts, and we want to enlist a PRO representative in each one to coordinate local efforts and secure the vote of your Congressman.
  3. Tell everyone you can possibly think of! Ideas include your entire email address book, posting to blogs you frequent, or contacting local radio stations, community, civic and church organizations, and the like. (for more ideas click here)
  4. Become a member of For $5 a month, of $50 a year, you can become a support, and will equip and empower you to protect your children.
  5. Contact Congress. If you Representative is not on the list of sponsors already, email or call them and ask, “Why aren’t you a cosponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment?” If you know your district, you can find your representatives contact information by clicking on your state from our State Watch page. If not, just input your zip code at

This post was written by Marli Tague. If you have any questions about or the Parental Rights Amendment, feel free to shoot her an email at

2 thoughts on “Protecting Your Children, Empowering You: The Parental Rights Amendment

  1. The overbearing state, kidnapping children at the behest of an inbred autocracy who believes themselves to be the arbiter of all things. They think that we, the great unwashed, are incapable of deciding whats good for ourselves and our children. Isn’t it way past time we changed it? Resist or suffer what this childs parents suffered.

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