The Arizona House of Representatives has voted to codify a “parents’ bill of rights” in state law that allows children to be raised without government interference.
Among the rights: Directing the child’s moral and religious training, making health care decisions and removing a child from sex-education classes.
“This bill is about restraining government from intruding into parental rights,” said Rep. Steve Yarbrough, a Chandler Republican and supporter of the bill. He said the goal was to “diminish (the) threat of government over-reaching” by stopping parents from raising their children how they see fit.
But critics said the bill, S1309, could have unintended consequences.
Rep. Ed Ableser, a Tempe Democrat, works as a mental health therapist in schools and said the legislation would restrict him from counseling a student who attempts suicide if the parents do not consent. The bill would allow him to help a student who is in immediate danger of committing suicide, but not after the child unsuccessfully attempts suicide.
“After that kid is taken off the ledge, I’m not allowed to talk to him anymore,” Ableser said. “It would basically handcuff (me) as a therapist if a kid tries to kill himself on school grounds.”
The bill was approved by a 33-24 vote. It faces a final Senate vote before it is sent to the governor.