There are three categories of rights: absolute, fundamental and ordinary.

A fundamental right is one which the government can burden or restrict only if there is a compelling reason to do so. Even then, it must be done with the least intrusion possible.

Parental rights have been recognized in the courts for almost 100 years as a fundamental right.

South Dakota, however, does not have a law recognizing parental rights as fundamental, meaning there is always the risk that a judge could insert his or her own bias into decision-making and downgrade parental rights to ordinary. We’ve seen this happen in 24 courts around the nation and we don’t want it to happen here.

Luckily, HB1246, a vital piece of legislation that aims to solidify parental rights as fundamental rights, will be considered by the South Dakota House of Representatives next week.

By passing this bill, the South Dakota Legislature is giving assurance to parents across the state

that their rights will be protected by the law. HB1246 would assure that parental rights would never be subject to a “judge-made” law.

This week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing and endorsed an amended version of the bill.

The new version of the bill states “The fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of a child rests with the parents or court-appointed guardian.”

Opponents of the bill may argue that it could interfere with child protection laws, domestic custody decisions, and adoptions. However, it would not impact any of these things. The state would still be able to intervene if a child is abused and terminate parental rights in order to protect a child.

This bill does NOT:

  • Interfere with child protection laws. The state has a compelling reason to prevent and intervene when a child is abused or neglected.
  • Interfere with domestic custody decisions.
  • Upset adoptions. Most adoptions involve a parent who has voluntarily surrendered their parental rights. The state still has a compelling interest in terminating parental rights in appropriate situations to protect a child.

It’s more important now than ever before that we protect parental rights legislatively. Parents’ rights have been under severe attack around the country, and especially in schools.

Many educators have been indoctrinating children and hiding information from parents. When parents do speak out and oppose their practices, teachers have ignored them.

Further, progressives are intent on disregarding parental input when it comes to children’s sexual identity. They continue to push local policies that sidestep parents and allow children to make important decision without parental consent.

This is why we must pass HB1246.

Thirteen other states have passed similar laws, including, West Virginia, Utah, Texas, Kansas, Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Oklahoma, Idaho, Wyoming, and Florida.

Now, it’s our turn.

According to the South Dakota Constitution, the legislature makes the laws and the courts apply them to individual situations. In 2010, the House affirmed parental rights by adopting House Concurrent Resolution 1014.

It’s time that the South Dakota legislature fulfill its duty of affirming and protecting parental rights with the law.

Please contact your local representatives (tips for doing so can be found here) and urge them to support HB1246.