State representative pre-files bill on parental rights

House Republicans are considering legislation that would codify a number of parental rights rulings made by the state supreme court.
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 7:27 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama House Republicans are supporting a parental rights bill ahead of the legislative session. The bill would codify Alabama Supreme Court rulings on parental rights. But some parents are calling this bill a form of extremism.

Parental rights extremism is how opponents are branding HB6.

“Prioritize the beliefs of parents or caregivers over a child’s right to autonomy, self-determination and privacy,” said Vanessa Tate Finney, a mother of a transgender youth.

Rep. Kenneth Paschal, a Republican from Shelby County, sponsored the bill that says the government can’t burden the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, care and custody of their child.

“It doesn’t give parents any magical powers. It just simply codifies what you already have in place,” said Paschal.

But the bill does allow the government to interfere if there is a compelling state interest.

“Some parents, they might not fulfill their obligation, and so we do already have laws that deals with child abuse, neglect, and this will not change that either,” said Paschal.

Finny is concerned that the state’s interests could particularly hurt marginalized children like her own transgender child. She said it could give the state a right to determine their health care.

If passed, it’s unknown how it would impact the ongoing court case to allow gender-affirming care for those kids.

“It really takes away that child’s ability to become who they want to be,” said Finny. “And that’s a very dangerous argument.”

“We want to join the 15 other states that have already passed similar legislation,” said Paschal.

Paschal is confident his bill will pass. He said it won’t impact what a child learns in school.

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