Would a Children’s Bill of Rights Strip Away Parents’ Rights?

Democrats in the House are calling for a “Children’s Bill of Rights.”  A resolution was introduced this week that would give children rights that would supposedly protect them. TheHill.com reports:

The framework, unveiled by Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Karen Bass (D-Calif.), has 22 broad categories that include the right to a safe and healthy environment — including in homes, schools and communities; the right to remain with a parent, legal guardian or caregiver except when authorities determine separation is in the best interest of the child; the right to a safe learning environment; and the right to be free from bullying. He said the United States now stands alone as the only nation that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international human rights treaty to protect children.

So what could be wrong with this proposed legislation?  It is after all, to protect the children.  The part that struck me was  this:

The right to remain with a parent, legal guardian or caregiver except when authorities determine separation is in the best interest of the child;

I believe strongly in protecting children.  I hate abortion, which is killing children.  I support laws that convict criminals who violently harm children.  But this resolution has the potential to open the door to government becoming more involved in family situations.  All of a sudden, the “authorities” will have more rights to be intervening in households in a way that is unsettling to me.  A children’s bill of rights could become another tool with which the government strips away parents’ rights to lead their families.

We already have social workers who question the rights of parents to homeschool their children.  This new legislation will make it easier for government officials to step in to a home and remove children from homes with loving parents who homeschool their children because they deem it to be “the best interest of the child” not to be in a traditional school situation.  If parents want to hold off of vaccinations because they feel it is best for their child, an overzealous doctor could lean on this legislation to remove that child from her home because her parents won’t have her vaccinated on the government schedule.  Basically, my fear is that a law to protect children’s rights will become a law that removes parents’ rights to make decisions about their own children.

The Democrats who proposed this bill are worried that the US stands alone in not having a law that protects children’s rights. More from TheHill.com:

“This is not controversial stuff,” Gutiérrez said at a press conference with students from D.C.-area public schools. “It’s basic human rights for children.”  He said the United States now stands alone as the only nation that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international human rights treaty to protect children.

“Somalia and South Sudan recently did, leaving us alone, and I think that’s an embarrassment,” he said.

The nations these lawmakers are comparing the US to are third world countries with more poverty, more abandonment of children, and more real threats to the well-being of children.  If this legislation is really about human rights–about protecting children from real threats like human trafficking, then it could be worth pursuing.  However, if it is not worded correctly, it could become a threat to the rights of parents and families to raise their children as they wish without the fear of government intervention.