Exposing Radical Florida Lawmaker’s Attempted Hijacking of Parental Rights

  • Post category:News / US News

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Legislation introduced in the Florida House of Representatives this month is being touted by its sponsor as a “children’s rights” bill, but it would be more accurate to call it what it is, a “usurpation of parental rights” bill.

Characterizing far-left Democratic state Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby’s HB 217 as a children’s rights bill is a travesty, first and foremost because the rights of a child are never in conflict with parental rights. The two are always congruent.

HB 217 defines vulnerable youth as “any person under the age of 18 whose everyday life has been or may be characterized by violence, sexual abuse, negligence, substance abuse, crime, psychiatric/mental disorders, a lack of interest in school, or a lack of positive adult relationships.”

“Lack of interest in school?” Seriously? As a mother of four teenagers, I have at any given time at least two children that describes. That hardly defines a “vulnerable youth.”

“Lack of positive adult relationships?” Is that what we now call a relationship between children and their parents?

If this bill were to become law, the state of Florida would get to decide what is defined as a “positive relationship.” If you don’t affirm gender dysphoria in your child, are you considered to be in a negative relationship? A bad parent? Would you lose your parental rights to the state?

HB 217 describes vulnerable youth as those “whose everyday life has been or may be … .”  That “may be” would allow government bureaucrats to replace parents if some future arbitrary issue is identified.

The legislation also says, “If a child is deprived of some or all the elements of his or her identity, the state shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to reestablishing his or her identity in a timely manner.” 

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“Deprived of some or all the elements of his or her identity?” This is another deeply troubling aspect of the bill. Who defines the elements of a child’s identity—some unelected government bureaucrat? For example, if a child wants to go on puberty blockers to try to change his or her gender, and the parent says “no,” would the state then step in to remove that child from the home and from his or her parents?

“The state shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent or parents, the state, legal guardians, or any other caregiver.”

Who defines “mental violence, injury or abuse”? Who defines “neglect”? In the example cited above, if a parent does not consent to puberty blockers for their child, that could be considered neglect.

HB 217 should be seen for what it is; namely, an obliteration of parental rights and the substitution of government control over the lives of children.

It is based on the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child, a multilateral treaty from the United Nations that the United States has thus far wisely refused to ratify. 

HB 217 won’t become  law in Florida, because it’s not likely to garner majority support in the Legislature, much less Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature. But if parents don’t stand up against it there, something like it is likely headed to other states soon. 

The best way to protect the rights of any child is to ensure that parents have the freedom and authority to direct the upbringing of their children. Love is an expertise, and no one will put a child first like a parent.

That’s why Moms For Liberty and the Parental Rights Foundation are working together to get a Parents Bill of Rights passed in every state in the country. These laws—already passed in 15 states—codify that parental rights are fundamental, the highest level of rights protected by our legal system.

We trust parents to make the best decisions for their children.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post Exposing Radical Florida Lawmaker’s Attempted Hijacking of Parental Rights appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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