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Posts tagged ‘Parental Rights’

Something that should be illegal

I found this article advocating that parents who don’t vaccinate their kids be subject to criminal charges or civil sanctions.

The article makes a good point. Anti–vaxxers are a threat to public health. There are certain people, such as those with weakened immune systems, or the extremely young, who cannot take them. Those people are therefore dependent on herd immunity to avoid getting sick and possibly dying. Anti–vaxxers therefore are potentially giving a disease to people who might die from it.

And people who (falsely) think vaccinations cause autism are either outright malicious or haven’t thought through to the logical consequences of their beliefs. I mean, vaccines prevent deadly diseases. And by refusing vaccinations for their children, they are in effect choosing a greater risk of dying over (according to their beliefs) a lower chance of autism. In other words, they’d rather their kid die than get autism. Do those people even know what they’re saying about themselves?

So yes, there should be no “philosophical” or religious exemptions for vaccinations, and refusers should be criminally charged. Anti–vaxxers are a threat to themselves and others, and in this respect are clearly unfit parents.

And while we’re at this, can we also treat refusals of newborn screening and choosing faith healing over modern medicine for dependent children? Far too many children have ended up dead because of this.

Link farm and a random thought

In no particular order:

The ultimate in data storage. Scientists have found a way to store digital information in DNA. The storage method is sophisticated enough that all information currently in hard drives could fit into the palm of your hand.


Quote of the day (emphasis added):

“What always interests me about defenders of creationism is how they clearly don’t think of children as people in their own right, but instead property that you use to enact your ideological obsessions.”

I personally would edit that quote to include the entirety of the rotten parental rights movement. Those people really do see their own kids as enemies and who’ll do anything to prevent those children from thinking for themselves and not being a projection or perfect reflection of the parents. Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism has emphasized this point multiple times.


Solar power is well on its way to becoming cheaper than coal. It might reach that point before the end of the decade. This is important, as it would eliminate much of the point of burning coal, which is important for climate change mitigation. (It’s still better to start today, however).


I fully agree with these suggestions on how to write a better fantasy story. (Via all these people).


Did you know that (supposedly) the committee of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women supposedly “Told Libya to re-interpret the Koran in the light of CEDAW”? To rational people, this is an excellent reason to support the CEDAW. But, Echidne found out, wingnuts actually use this as a justifiation for opposing the CEDAW. To their credit, at least they’re honest.


Two of the comments on a post on Brute Reason have won awards. You just have to see them.

And yes, I did manage to read and finish what is visible of the first comment. It starts repeating itself part way through Can’t it be all new woo?

This post has been edited since publication.

Shut up because the views must be the same

A guest blogger at the Volokh Conspiracy is doing a series of posts about treaties and the United States’ Congress’ powers and the ability to enforce them.

Rather than offer my own views on that subject (which is way beyond my expertise, in part because IANAL), I’ll instead draw attention to a curious contradiction among many in the religious right wrong. In concerns the United States’ Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2), which reads as follows:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The people in the religious right wrong use this section to argue that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, if ratified by the US Senate, will somehow threaten “parental rights” or homeschooling or other such stuff. (As every other country [except Somalia, which hasn’t signed] shows, such claims are nonsense, but showing why is beyond the scope of this post). In other words, they are required to believe that any international treaty overrules whatever laws are in force in the US, even if Congress legislating in that area would be ultra vires (beyond its powers).

The religious right wrong also believe that the US is founded as a Christian nation. This is in spite of the Treaty of Tripoli, which the US Senate unanimously ratified over two centuries ago. The relevant section is Article 12, which reads as follows (spelling and wording in original):

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In other words, the religious right wrong believes that treaties overrule law when they provide rights to children, but not when they refute the Christian nation myth.

Those two positions are contradictory. One cannot rationally believe both. If they truly believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli does not apply, then they can forever shut up about the UNCRC overruling any other law and threatening parental rights. If, by contrast, they believe that the UNCRC does overrule other laws, they then can shut the fuck up about the US being founded as a Christian nation.

Now this creeps out

I heard about this disturbing stuff at Butterflies and Wheels (in all cases, my emphasis):

Nearly 7,000 Virginia children whose families have opted to keep them out of public school for religious reasons are not required to get an education, the only children in the country who do not have to prove they are being home-schooled or otherwise educated, according to a study.

Virginia is the only state that allows families to avoid government intrusion once they are given permission to opt out of public school, according to a report from the University of Virginia’s School of Law. It’s a law that is defended for promoting religious freedom and criticized for leaving open the possibility that some children will not be educated.

[…]

I have no problem with homeschooling in itself, but I don’t see how a situation like this will ever end well.

Once parents in Virginia are granted a religious exemption, they’re no longer legally obligated to educate their children.

The statute does not allow exemptions for political or philosophical beliefs “or a merely personal moral code,” but the beliefs do not have to be part of a mainstream religion….

Yet again we have perverse privileging of religious belief over secular belief.

Now, I have no absolute proof, but it is virtually inevitable that girls will be the ones who will be denied a or deprived of an adequate education under this scheme of legalizing child abuse. How do I realize that? How many religions mandate the oppression/subordination of men? None (that matter). How many mandate the oppression/subordination of women? Most (that matter).

Denying education and choices to girls is child abuse. Here’s why (after the jump):

(more…)

Spanking causes mental illness in kids

A new study suggests that substance abuse and depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are more common in children who were physically punished (without meeting the legal definition of child abuse).

From the abstract:

Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.

The real problem

I have no problem with homeschooling. It may well be the best choice for certain people, and since I cannot possibly know everyone’s circumstances or situation, I cannot decide that for them. The majority of them, I’m sure, have nothing but the interests of their children’s education at heart and lack any sort of ulterior or ideologically–driven indoctrinination/brainwashing motive. Indeed, some people homeschool specifically to get away from fundamentalism plaguing public schools in some areas, such as creationism and abstinence ignorance–only sex education.

What I do have a problem with is people who homeschool under the guise of “freedom of religion” to abuse their children and deny girls their rights (via Denialism) (my emphasis):

[Erika Diegel Martin] recounts notable educational gaps in her own family, where there was little academic encouragement. One of her brothers decided to quit school at 16 and faced no parental opposition. The youngest, Diegel Martin says, ceased his formal education at the age of 12, when she left home and was no longer available to teach him herself. And though she was fortunate enough to receive sex education before leaving public school, her siblings were not so lucky. Their parents never taught the three other children about sex, and Diegel Martin remembers giving her 21-year-old sister “the talk” the week before she got married. She also had to intervene to ensure that her younger brothers learned about sex.

As for herself, when she completed her schooling, she says her parents did not allow her to obtain her GED as proof of high school graduation. Their reason? “The girls weren’t allowed to get a GED because we were told we wouldn’t need it. It would open up opportunities that were forbidden to us. We would work in the family business until we got married, and then become homemakers.

“When I talked about wanting to go to college, my parents said, ‘Well, you’re a girl. You don’t go to college.'”

In other words, they’re breeding dependent doormats.

Quiverfull is one of the worst offenders when it comes to using “freedom of religion” and the parental rights (to abuse, to deny healthcare, and to deny education) movement to oppress women. Here what one of the biggest proponents of this movement, Doug Phillips, said (via Libby Anne) (again, my emphasis):

“Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope 
of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out 
independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has 
the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.'”

Very rarely do these people make it more clear that it’s about ownership of women.

Freedom of religion shouldn’t be “freedom” to oppress women. If there is a conflict between women’s rights and religion, women’s rights ought to win 100 times out of 100.

If you can’t beat the shit out of your own child who can you beat the shit out of?

CBC reports on a new study to be published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that physical punishment of children (such as spanking) has severe negative health consequences, and that the exemption in the Criminal Code that allows it should be repealed. The issue of spanking was covered by the Supreme Court in 2004, which allowed the exemption to stand.

Children who have experienced physical punishment tend to be more aggressive toward parents, siblings, peers and, later, spouses, and are more likely to develop antisocial behaviour, said Joan Durrant, of the department of family social sciences at the University of Manitoba and Ron Ensom of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

Physical punishment is also associated with a variety of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and use of drugs and alcohol.

[…]

They noted that when parents in more than 500 families were trained to reduce their use of physical punishment, the difficult behaviours in the children also declined.

[….]

Although working to outlaw spanking is the correct move, one shouldn’t focus so much on corporal punishment that one neglects to target other forms of child abuse. There are destructive things that parents can do to their kids that don’t involve any hitting. For example, Clarissa has mentioned force–feeding. Another example is arbitrarily denying healthcare.

The title of this post is taken from a comment by Jake Squid at an old Pandagon thread.

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