From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


4/8/2008 10:18:15 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
California--A.B. 2943: Prohibition of Spanking

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

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From: Roy Hanson's Child and Family Protection Association and Home
School Legal Defense Association

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Bill: AB 2943 (as amended 4/3/08) - Prohibition of Spanking
Author: State Assembly Member Sally Lieber

Position: Strongly OPPOSE - amendments cannot help

Status: Assigned to California State Assembly Public Safety

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Information Included In This E-mail:

A. Summary of Concerns
B. Action Items
C. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators

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A. Summary of Concerns:

Assembly Member Sally Lieber has reintroduced her "anti-spanking" bill
with a new number-- AB 2943. Last year she attempted to push her
bill, AB 755, through the legislature, and it was officially stopped
on January 31, 2008, when it failed to be passed out of the Assembly.
Identical to her failed AB 755, AB 2943 would have the practical
effect of making a non-injurious spanking with an object such as a
ruler, folded newspaper, small paddle, etc. illegal. After being
arrested, charged and tried in a criminal court, parents could receive
up to one year in jail and lose custody of their children. When
Lieber claims that her bill only deals with child abuse, remember that
she has stated repeatedly that all spanking, by definition, is child
abuse. Her strategy in AB 2943 is to treat all spanking with an
object as criminal child abuse. She has deliberately failed to make
any distinction between spanking as a method of discipline and true
child abuse.

AB 2943 would amend Penal Code 273a, which currently makes it a crime
to cause unjustifiable pain, harm, or injury to any minor child. The
instructions to a jury which are mandated by the current version of AB
2943 would state that a jury may consider that physical pain or mental
suffering inflicted upon a child is unjustifiable if it is
caused by any of the seven kinds of actions, which are also listed in
AB 2943. The first of the seven actions listed is: "the use of an
implement, including, but not limited to, a stick, a rod, a switch, an
electrical cord, an extension cord, a belt, a broom, or a shoe." This
first action includes the act of spanking with an object other than
using one's hand. Because these items would be listed in the Penal
Code, the police and district attorney would likely consider all
spanking with an implement to be grounds to bring charges against the
parents. Then a criminal court trial would determine if the parents
are guilty of criminal child abuse. Parents would have the difficult
task of proving that the spanking was justifiable to the satisfaction
of the court in a criminal trial in order to avoid being sent to jail
for up to one year or receiving other penalties. The case also could
be referred to Child Protective Services (CPS) and Juvenile Court,
which could result in the possible temporary or permanent loss of
custody of their children.

* Please see our "AB 2943 Alert Supplement" for a more detailed
explanation of AB 2943. This Alert and our Supplement can be
downloaded from

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B. Action Item:

WRITE your Assembly Member.
(You can find your Assembly Member's Capitol address and fax number by
entering your 9-digit ZIP code in HSLDA's Legislative Tool Box at, or by calling the office in your county
that handles voter registration.)

Ask them to -
"Please vote No on AB 2943 (by Lieber). AB 2943 would cause parents
who use a small paddle or similar object, when lovingly spanking their
child, to be arrested and prosecuted in a criminal trial. AB 2943 is
unnecessary. Children are already protected from all forms of true
child abuse in current law."

(You may want to use one of the "Opposition Points to Share with
Legislators" presented below in addition to the suggested "script"

* Write as a Concerned Citizen. This bill affects all families.
* Do not disclose the source of this Alert. All bills are available
on the internet.
* Because e-mails are usually ignored, letters are most effective.
* Reprint or forward this to your friends, church, school, and group.
* Pray for a proper outcome.

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C. Opposition Points to Share with Legislators:

1. AB 2943 would hurt the very children that this bill is supposed to
help, especially if their parents have lower incomes or they have only
one parent. When you hurt the child's primary caregiver, you hurt the
child. There will be a great amount of stress, grief, and hardship
resulting from an arrest, trial, expenses for an attorney, time lost
at work, threat of job loss, difficulty of getting a new job because
of having a criminal record, separating the child from parents, fines,
jail time, class time. The trauma and stigma of a child's parent(s)
going through a criminal trial will only add to their troubles. This
whole experience could be an unbearable stress.

2. There is no objective research that links bad outcomes for
children who have been spanked by their parents.(1) The best credible
research has shown that nonabusive spanking when used to back up other
disciplinary methods has been effective in curbing antisocial behavior
in children as they grow up.(2) Diana Baumrind, Ph.D., of the
University of California found that children who are occasionally
spanked score higher on measures of adjustment than children who have
never been spanked.(3) According to Robert E. Larzelere, Ph.D., of
Oklahoma State University, ten years after Sweden's ban on spanking
was instituted, child abuse had increased instead of decreasing.(4)

3. AB 2943 defies all common sense and history. There is no state
that forbids the use of an object for spanking by parents. This form
of discipline, when reasonably administered, has been accepted by
every generation of Californians and Americans. Criminalizing a
significant portion of the populace by imposing the author's personal
beliefs about discipline and spanking on the parents of California is
a terrible and grave injustice. According to a national ABC News
Opinion Poll, over one half of the persons interviewed believe that a
reasonable spanking to the buttocks is appropriate as a method of
child discipline and close to one half of parents with minor children
at home spank their children.(5) A poll taken for CBS News on Jan.
18, 2007, found that 57% of California Bay Area adults would oppose
legislation banning spanking.

4. If AB 2943 becomes law, there will be a huge increase in the
number of reports of child abuse and endangerment to law enforcement,
child protective services, and then an increase in cases to be handled
by D.A. offices, Criminal Courts, and Juvenile Courts. The flood of
new cases resulting from AB 2943 will be overwhelming for these
agencies of the state, most of which are already overloaded with a
backlog of serious crime and child abuse cases.

* Please see our "AB 2943 Alert Supplement" for a more detailed
explanation and additional opposition points. This Alert and our
Supplement can be downloaded from

1. Larzelere, Robert E. and Kuhn, Brett R.; Comparing Child Outcomes
of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A
Meta-Analysis; Clinical Child and Family Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, March
2005; p. 2.

2. Larzelere, Robert E. and Kuhn, Brett R.; Comparing Child Outcomes
of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A
Meta-Analysis; Clinical Child and Family Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, March
2005; p. 26.

3. Baumrind, Diana; Respondent's Affidavit Brief; Canadian Foundation
For Children, Youth and the Law vs. The Attorney General In Right of
Canada; Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court; May 3, 1999, para.
85, 87.

4. Larzelere, Robert E.; Sweden's smacking ban: more harm than good;
Family First and The Christian Institute; England; 2004; p. 4.

5. Poll: Most Approve of Spanking Kids; March 26, 2007.

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Roy Hanson's HELP Tree
Child and Family Protection Association
P.O. Box 730
Lincoln, CA 95648-0730
Fax: (916) 415-9470

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The purpose of this communication is to present information and
express our position on the issue(s) addressed. We encourage you to
research this for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
Regardless of your position, we strongly urge you to exercise your
constitutional right to express your position to your elected
representatives. We have included an example of how we have expressed
our position.
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DISCLAIMER: This is considered a private and confidential message to
HELP Tree Members only. We are not responsible for the accuracy of
copies printed, forwarded, or sent by any party other than directly
from Child and Family Protection Association.
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