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1/25/2005 12:25:26 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Utah--Bill Introduced to Support a Parent's Right to Make Medical Decisions for a Child

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 25, 2005


Utah--Bill Introduced to Support a Parent's Right to Make Medical
Decisions for a Child


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Senate Bill 83 would amend existing law to more clearly protect the
rights of parents or guardians to make medical decisions on behalf of
their children, without having to fear medical neglect prosecution.
Specifically, it states that a health care decision made by a child's
parent or guardian does not constitute neglect unless the state or
other party to the proceeding shows, by clear and convincing evidence,
that the decision is not reasonable and prudent. This raises the
evidentiary standard and gives more power to the parents. This bill
also gives parents the right to a second medical opinion.


ACTION REQUESTED

Please contact your Senator and give him this message, "Protect a
parent's right to a second medical opinion. Vote yes on SB 83!" To
find your Senator, use the HSLDA Legislative Toolbox
( http://www.hslda.org/toolbox ).


BACKGROUND

SB 83 is part of Utah's ongoing effort to adjust the law in light of
the Jensen case in 2003. Mr. and Mrs. Jensen fled Utah with their son
Parker rather than submit him to 49 weeks of chemotherapy for a rare
form of cancer. Utah issued felony arrest warrants against them for
kidnapping their own son. The State eventually backed down, but at
least 40 bills were introduced in the 2004 Legislature to deal with
the aftermath. SB 83 is yet another attempt to adjust Utah law to
prevent another Jensen case.

SB 83 is needed because parental rights are under siege. Parents, in
many ways, are becoming "second class citizens" as lower courts
elevate the power of the state to supersede the wisdom of parents.
Parental choice is in jeopardy. Freedom is at stake. The basic
fundamental freedom of parents to raise their children hangs in the
balance.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court clearly recognizes parents' rights as
fundamental and thus protected by a higher standard of legal review,
many lower courts over the last twenty-five years have eroded this
traditional view of parental rights. HSLDA routinely supports parental
rights legislation that reaffirms traditional authority over medical
decisions, discipline, education and religious training of children.

Sincerely,


Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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