Senate Bill 908: Protects Parental Rights


Last Updated: February 18, 2013
Senate Bill 908: Protects Parental Rights
Senator Reeves

This bill would enact a law affirming that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children and such right shall not be infringed by the government unless the governmental interest as applied to the parents is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

HSLDA's Position:
Action Requested:
None at this time

01/04/13     (Senate)     Prefiled and ordered printed
01/04/13     (Senate)     Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/14/13     (Senate)     Hearing scheduled—Senate Committee for Courts of Justice
01/28/13     (Senate)     Passed Courts of Justice
01/29/13     (Senate)     First reading in the Senate
01/30/13     (Senate)     Second reading in the Senate; committee substitute accepted
01/31/13     (Senate)     Passed by the Senate
02/02/13     (House)     Referred to House Courts of Justice Committee
02/18/13     (House)     Passed by House Courts of Justice Committee
02/20/13     (House)     Passed by House

This bill was signed by the Governor on March 21, and is now law.


When people go to court to ask for protection of their rights against government intrusion, courts first decide whether the right is fundamental, or not fundamental. If the judge decides it’s not fundamental, then the judge will allow the government to infringe on the right as long as it has a “rational” reason. But if the judge decides the right is fundamental, it gets much better protection. The government is allowed to infringe on it only if there is a truly compelling reason, and there is no other way for the government to accomplish a very high priority.

As of today, there is nothing in Virginia statutes or our state constitution saying whether parental rights are in the category of fundamental rights. It’s left up to the whim of the judge. This is the problem SB 908 solves.

SB 908 does not give any new rights. It does not even say what rights you have right now as parents. That must be determined by looking other places—state and federal statutes, the state and federal constitution, etc. SB 908 simply gives much better protection to your rights that already exist.

Opponents of parental rights bills sometimes claim it would give parents a right to abuse their kids. This is incorrect. SB 908 does not give any parent any new right at all! You don’t have a right to abuse your kids right now, and you won’t have a right to abuse your kids after the bill becomes law. But your rights that are already there will get much better protection against government infringement

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History

E-lert January 11, 2013: Calls Needed to Help Parental Rights Bill

E-lert January 17, 2013: Calls Still Needed to Help Parental Rights Bill

E-lert January 18, 2013: Update on Parental Rights Bill, Sports Access

E-lert January 25, 2013: Calls Needed Urgently to Help Parental Rights Bill

E-lert January 28, 2013: Calls Needed Now to Advance Parental Rights Bill

E-lert January 30, 2013: Urgent—Please Call—Crucial Tests for Parental Rights Bills Coming

E-lert February 5, 2013: Excellent Progress on Parents Rights!

E-lert February 8, 2013: Call Now to Support SB 908 As Passed!

E-lert February 12, 2013: Call Now to Put "Education" into Parental Rights Bill