‘Parental Rights’ bill passes Senate, but with criticism

Posted at 12:12 AM, Feb 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-01 00:12:03-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Senator Bryce Reeves says Virginia state lawmakers need to secure the rights of parents in the Commonwealth.

"We've seen an erosion of our rights as parents, it's almost a nanny state lately," said Reeves.

Bryce blames the federal government for too often telling parents how to raise their kids through measures schools or even a doctor's office.  He pointed to the recent controversy over having teenage girls receive a vaccine against cervical cancer. Reeves wants to remind the federal government that parenting is a fundamental right.

"It's turned in to an ordinary right which means if we want to as the government we're going to trample on that right," says Reeves.

It seems many of Reeves colleagues in the senate agree. His "parental rights" bill sailed through the full senate with bipartisan support Thursday.

The bill says parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children and only when it’s of the highest order can the government interfere with those rights but some feel putting it that simply will complicate things down the road.

"It's poor legislation," says child advocate Ian Danielson.

Many child advocacy groups believe the parental rights the bill is too vague and could have unintended consequences.

"The word parent is not defined; does it mean step-parents, does it include custodial grandparents?" 

Danielson added that’s  what's not mentioned in the bill is the rights of children and questions how this bill will impact the people tasked to protect them, like CPS workers.

"We are concerned that this does appear to have a bias that could overshadow children's best interests," said Danielson.