Rights of the Child

Tara - posted on 07/26/2011 ( 43 moms have responded )

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"Children occupy a unique status in our society. While they are entitled to the basic rights prescribed in their nations’ Constitutions, their status, as minors, renders them vulnerable and in need of safeguards to ensure their protection. In recognition of children’s special status, the United Nations commenced efforts in 1979 to develop an inclusive, legally-binding human rights treaty for all the world’s children. Ten years later, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and instituted as international law in 1990.

Despite that the U.S. was an active and prominent participant in the decade-long drafting process, we, along with Somalia, remain the only two nations a party to the UN who have not ratified this celebrated document. The 193 countries that have ratified the Convention has used it as a guide to develop and implement policies and programs that best address and fulfill children’s needs.

Our children are our future decision-makers and leaders. They will set public policy and implement laws. In essence, they will shape the future of not only American society and culture, but that of the world. Thus, we need to raise resilient children who will make good citizens, who care about others, who share our values, and who will make excellent parents. In order for children to thrive, childhood needs to be made a national as well as global priority.

Children are seldom considered as a factor in decision-making. It is passed the time that we think about how our decisions affect the lives of each and every child. After all, we are going to have to live with the consequences of our actions."

From this site. http://childrightscampaign.org/crcindex....



And more

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/08/gop-...

"Religious conservatives, especially in the homeschooling movement, are raising a stink about the treaty and trying to get Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would make it virtually impossible for the US to ever ratify it. Their main objections? Under the treaty, "parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children," the government couldn't sentence teenagers to life in prison, kids could get sex-ed and birth control if they wanted it, and--gasp!--children would be able to choose their own religion, according to a fact sheet published by ParentalRights.org, an outfit headed up by Michael Farris, the homeschooling movement's legal mastermind. The group is dedicated to winning passage of the parental rights amendment."

Thoughts on why one of the supposedly most advanced countries is the only country in the industrialized world (aside from Somalia who has no government to ratify it) chooses not to do so??

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Charlie - posted on 07/26/2011

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" A child is no less of a human being than I am, as an adult, and should be afforded the same human rights as myself. "

I could not agree more to this , no one OWNS any other person ...EVER , we may be of the same blood , we may be responsible for them but we do not own them. If a person cannot see that then it is those who need intervention the most because I cannot say that many ...if any parents would use the " I own them " excuse except in the case they need it to cover the ill treatment of a child especially in clear cases of their human rights being violated.

Tara - posted on 07/27/2011

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But Sherri, those rights are there to protect children, not just your kids, but all kids. Just because you don't beat or confine your kids, just cause you will teach your daughters math and reading and won't marry them off to the 50 year old pastor in your cult like Christian church, just because you feed your kids on a regular basis and provide them with a warm house and clean water, does not mean every parent does.
It doesn't mean that there aren't children living in squalid conditions in an industrialized nation, it doesn't mean there aren't children being sold into the sex trade etc.

So why not sign this agreement to protect all children in the US? Why refuse to do so when it would benefit thousands if not tens of thousands of children to secure a more positive future?
What are you afraid of if the US chooses to sign?

Isobel - posted on 07/26/2011

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Should the govt also stay out of it when "parenting" involves incest, beatings, discipline through denying food, allowing children to stay home alone when they are 4, whether or not the child should learn math or how to read (because they may happen to be a girl), choosing when the child is old enough to marry and who they should marry?

...make up your mind...should the govt get involved in "parenting decisions" or not?

Jenni - posted on 07/26/2011

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I'm going to say that it's for the same reason that same-sex marriage is only legal in a handful of states. Matters of human rights are left up to the public to decide and majority wins.

IMO the right for a parent to use physcial punishment as a means of discipline does not supercede a child's right to bodily integrity. The parent does not *own* the child and therefore does not have the right to do with their body what they wish. I would think in a civilized society we would do away with such legalities of ownership over another human being. A child is no less of a human being than I am, as an adult, and should be afforded the same human rights as myself.

[deleted account]

Sherri they could though, all they have to do is believe another belief system and they would have changed their religion - they may have to wait until they are 18 to do any commitment ceremonies but they can still change their beliefs prior to that, I'm not trying to be facetious but realistically regardless of what we want our children can believe whatever they want. It's almost like trying to convince a toddler that there isn't a monster in his wardrobe, if he believes there is that is what he believes even though we believe otherwise and try and convince him of that.

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Merry - posted on 07/28/2011

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Yeah that's what I'm wondering Anna, what would this change? Most of it is already commonplace in USA and most of the other stuff we have laws protecting kids already.
What would change?

Anna - posted on 07/27/2011

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So what would this change Tara? Because if this is about forced child labor, exploitation and abusive foster parents than I'm pretty sure we have laws in place for that already. If this effectively all about spanking than we can address that topic separately. Pretty much anything else though, even if I agree with it, I don't want to be put in the hands of the state over the hands of the parents. As Laura already pointed out, someone needs to decide what's in the best interest of the child. And the state is wrong sometimes too you know.

Charlie - posted on 07/27/2011

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" Right now in the US, children are not even afforded the same rights as adults.

They shouldn't as they are children (they can not make decisions on anything regarding their care, upbringing etc and until they reach 18 yrs of age they shouldn't be able too).. Sorry when they are adults then they will be afforded the same rights as an adult. "

Thats just it , this isnt about right of age this is about human rights , two VERY different things .....we are all human no matter the age.

[deleted account]

Sherri you completely missed my point, your kids may well be fine with your religion - I can't and am not arguing with that, but if they weren't whether they chose to discuss it with you or not you have no control over what they believe mentally only what they do physically. NOBODY can make another person believe if they don't want to. So to me the point about a child choosing it's own religion simply means allowing them to know about other religions thus being able to make a choice. Your children do know about other religions you have already said that so really there isnt an issue in my mind, I was just trying to get you to see that regardless of what you want your children will believe what they want unless you brainwash them or keep them in a cocoon, like some parents do- which this convention aims to stop.

Lacye - posted on 07/27/2011

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Ok. I went and read the policies of this new program (thanks Becky for reposting it for me, I don't think I saw it before) and I don't see a problem with it. It is a really good idea. I can't understand why the US has not adopted it yet.

Tara - posted on 07/27/2011

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Laura,
I am a parent who raises my kids in what most would call an "alternative" way.
I homeschool/unschool my kids, I homebirthed 3 of 6 of them, I teach my kids about all kinds of stuff, sex ed included, as well as politics and religious history.
I am not a mainstream parent, I am civilly disobedient at times, I am outspoken about my rights as homeschooling parent.
I am an advocate for environmental and social issues in my area.
I have no fears about the fact my country has signed ratified this charter. Like I said earlier, we have a copy posted in the house, the child friendly version, find the link I posted below, I bet you will see why *I* have it posted. And why it works great for my family and the dynamic we live in.
This is not about big brother coming down on parents for being individuals, this is about protecting children, all children from exploitation, forced labour, sexual torture, being forced to live with foster parents who are abusive to them, being separated from their families, ensuring they have clean drinking water and housing, food and an education.
This is in place in these 193 countries because they see our children as our future and the best way to ensure a healthier future for us is to provide a better and more stable childhood for our children.

Sherri - posted on 07/27/2011

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And as I said they can come to me as a teen (which I already have 2 of) and have that conversation with me if they decide that our religion is not for them. Then they no longer will have to attend with us and can opt for a religion of their choice once they are of the age to do so which right now is 18. As of right now that has not occurred and my children have no problem with our religion as it is right now theirs as well and they seem to embrace it. So we will continue as usual.

Sherri - posted on 07/27/2011

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That is really my feeling on it as well Laura. I am afraid people of authority will adapt the wording to fit what they think is the law.

As far as religion when they are old enough to make an educated decision on that is fine until then it is my job as their parent to teach them the religion that we follow. Sorry but as infants they have no say whether we get them baptized, as a 1st grader they have no say whether we get them their first penance and first communion. Until they are adults and can make an educated decision yes we will continue to teach them our religion and bring them to church and CCD classes. It is what we have always done and they know no differently. I am not FORCING them it is just part of our life, they have absolutely no desire to switch religions or not practice the one we do. If they sat down with me as a teen and had valid concerns or detest of it. Then no I would not force them to attend church or practice but no they could not change their religion until they were 18.

Merry - posted on 07/27/2011

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Becky, I sure hope so! The general idea sounds great I just am wary of my rights being taken away. Hopefully I'm needlessly worrying :)

Becky - posted on 07/27/2011

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Well, I live in a country that has signed this convention, and none of those concerns listed by Parentalrights.org are issues here. I can have a homebirth, I can homeschool, I can teach my children to believe whatever I want to teach them to believe (although of course I cannot force them to believe anything), I can tell them whatever I want to about the origins of the earth and life. In Canada, the "best interests of the child" is defined by each province's child welfare act (or whatever it's called in other provinces). I would imagine they're quite similar across the provinces, although I've never read any others outside of Alberta's. If a concern or complaint does not fit within the scope of the child welfare act, the government stays out of it. The fact is, the government - children's services, does not have the time or the resources to interfere in all the minutea of a family's everyday life. So guidelines are, out of necessity, set out for where intervention is needed, and where it is not. Religion, for instance, is not mentioned in our child welfare act. You are not ever going to be investigated for making your child go to church with you, no matter how much they complain about it, unless of course, you are beating them or depriving them of food (or something of the sort) to get them to go. You aren't going to be investigated for not allowing your child to play soccer. You're not going to be investigated for homeschooling, unless it is alleged that you are not providing your children with any education at all.
I don't really know much about the American child protection system, but really, I doubt that signing this document would give the American government any more power over parents than they already have. And quite honestly, I doubt they want any more power over parents than what they have now. They're too busy fighting questionable wars.

Merry - posted on 07/27/2011

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But who is deciding what is causing harm? Is it harmful if I birth at home? Or homeschool? Some say that's harmful. Or is it harmful if I don't give my kids birth control or condoms?
Harm is defined differently by different people. And those of us who don't go along mainstream parenting worry our choices could be deemed 'harmful'

[deleted account]

I cannot understand why anyone wouldn't want to accept this policy it is there to protect children who have no-one else to protect them. Not our kids where we generally use our common sense but the extremists who will do things that go against the points made here. It is highly unlikely that any normal parent will be affected by the points because it is not there for normal parenting it is there for thse that abuse their position as a parent and cause harm to their child.

Merry - posted on 07/27/2011

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Copied from parental rights.org



Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.13.***I'm fine with this, I will raise my kids in Christianity but they have to decide if they want a relationship with god on their own, I can't force that****



The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.14.*****so ifi said my kid couldn't toto summer camp could the gov over rule me and make me let my kid toto camp? If i want to homeschool could the gov say I had to put them in public school?*****



A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.15.****similar as above***



According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.16.*****well if we all get blown up a computer education system isn't doing anyone any good....*****



Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.17.*****no good parent would object to this!****



Christian schools that refuse to teach "alternative worldviews" and teach that Christianity is the only true religion "fly in the face of article 29" of the treaty.18.****so if I homeschool and teach that creation is fact and evolution is theory am I going to get my kids taken from me?****



Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.19.****well can I homeschool and teach sex Ed as I see fit?****



Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions,  without parental knowledge or consent.20. *****definitely disagree with this one. There's a reason kids are under our care and that because their minds aren't mature, so they don't make good decisions alone!****



Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.11.******fine by me' I don't think any kid deserves spankings****



A murderer aged 17 years and 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.12.****I had no idea we ever were sentencing children to life in prison! I don't care what they did they shouldn't be given life in prison before they are adults, even then idk, life in prison is some serious sentence*****





If I wanted to birth at home, not vaccinate, homeschool, teach creation, etc would the gov interfere?

Idk, I think the gov should simply keep kids safe, physically. Since the ideas of mental safety is so different person to person. My idea of loving guidance could be another persons idea of mental damage.

Merry - posted on 07/27/2011

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Who determines what is 'in the child's best interest'b I mean it sounds all well and good but who determines when a kid is better off in foster care or with it's parents.
Who determines what groups kids can join?
Who decides what education is enough?
Idk, it's not very decisive. Pretty wishy washy.

Becky - posted on 07/27/2011

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Here is a link - from the site Tara posted - to a summary of the UNCRC: http://childrightscampaign.org/crcindex....
After reading it, I am hard-pressed to see what anyone could find objectionable about that!! The right to be raised by their parents, unless it is not in their best interests? The right to have an education? The right to not have to do dangerous and inappropriate work to survive? Nowhere in the summary does it say that parents do not have the right to instruct their children in the religion that they follow, only that they do not have the right to choose what their child believes. And you know what? You can't force your child to believe something anyway! Nowhere does it say that parents do not have the right to choose how to discipline their children. In fact, it specifies that they do have that right, only that they do not have the right to inflict violence on their children. Do people actually think parents do have the right to inflice violence on their children???
I think the problem is that people believe the paranoid rantings of sites like parentalrights.org (I'll post a couple of quote from them in a bit) and don't bother do look at the convention for what it is and look at the welfare of children in countries that have signed the convention.

Lacye - posted on 07/27/2011

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Personally, I would have to wait until I read about all the program and everything before I came to a decision. Some of the things I have seen discussed:

child helps decide discipline: no. I don't agree with that. As long as the parent is responsible with the discipline, then I don't think the government should step in and take control.

parents choosing what religion the child should practice: I think that until the child is old enough to make that decision, then the parents choose the religion and teach that religion to their child.

Besides, how do we know that this program will just automatically change a child into an excellent parent like the report says? You can never guarantee what kind of parent a child is going to be. You never knows what is going on behind closed doors. As I said, I would like to see more about the programs and policies before I make a decision about this.

Tara - posted on 07/27/2011

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But Sherri when you say they will not be allowed to "change their religion" you are assuming they have one right now.

Isn't religion and faith something that is a personal relationship with Jesus? Isn't that the whole basis of Christianity? A choice made by an individual to accept Jesus as their saviour so they will have everlasting life?

If that choice is made for them by someone else is it still a valid relationship with God?

Like say someone orders your dinner for you at a fancy restaurant, they assure you it is delicious and healthy because they have been eating it all their life and they are fine. You taste it and don't really care for it, it's bland and boring, but you eat it anyways cause they ordered it and they are paying for it, and you have nothing else to eat. But really you don't enjoy it, and you don't actually believe what the person ordering it told you about it, cause for you, it's just not that great.

So one day you get a job, you go out and order your own dinner, it is delicious and tasty and you decide it is the best dish ever.

Even though for a long time you were told the other dish was the best and the most delicious, you previously thought it was the best, even though you didn't like it, but you were told it was the best, and until you ordered your own dinner you had nothing to compare it to.

Isn't forcing your religion on your kids sort of like ordering their dinner for them and telling them it tastes good cause you say it does?

Jenni - posted on 07/27/2011

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Sherri, If they don't believe in it, what's the point? No amount of forcing them to attend is going to make them change their mind.



If my mom forced me to attend after I decided I didn't believe in it. I would only reject/resent it further. No amount of forcing me to attend would change my mind about what I truly believed/didn't believe. So yes, my physical body may be there. My physical body may have my religion chosen for me. But my mind (the part that counts when it comes to beliefs/religion) my parent could not force to be their religion.



It would be like if I was born a girl and my parents wanted me to be a boy, so they forced me to wear boy's clothing. Regardless of my outward physical appearance, I'd still be a girl.

Sherri - posted on 07/27/2011

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These things are already adapted into the rights as a US citizen. Actually I haven't read one yet that wasn't already a right for a child in the US.

Jenni - posted on 07/27/2011

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lol I actually just found and read the child-friendly version. I love that you have it posted in your house. Great job!

So harm is subjective, is it not? Is that why it's left up to individual countries/provinces/states/territories to decide what would be considered 'harm'?
For example,
In Ontario you cannot spank a child under 2 or over 12.
No marks can be left.
No tools can be used.

Sherri - posted on 07/27/2011

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In my house they can choose what ever religion they want when they reach the age of 18. Until then they will follow our faith. However, my kids don't have a problem with that and yes I know this first hand I have kids that are old enough to have intelligent conversations on the subject, they hate CCD but still go. Going to church eh not their favorite but only because they would rather hang with friends etc. then go to church, not because they have a problem with actually going to church or the religion. If they choose to practice when they are older completely up to them but until that time, yes it is my right as their parent to direct them down the path I deem appropriate for them.

My oldest actually attends his best friends church on occasion as well. So I am not hindering him experiencing and learning about others religions but until 18 no they will not be able to actually change their religion if that is what they decided.

Tara - posted on 07/27/2011

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Jennifer, it was signed by 193 countries. Spanking is not part of the charter:
Article 19, again from the child friendly version (we have this posted in the house! lol)
You have the right to being protected from harm, in body and in mind.

Here's the link to the child friendly version, we use at home.

http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/files/un...

:)

Tara - posted on 07/27/2011

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Sherri, we aren't talking about freedom to vote etc. we are talking about the right to education, the right to live free of violence and sexual slavery etc. etc.
What is the problem?

Jenni - posted on 07/27/2011

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Sherri,

How can you force a child, let's say a teen, to follow a religion they don't believe in?

I mean, I guess you could physically force them to attend a place of worship. But could you really force their mind to follow a religion they don't believe?

and what would be the point? You don't think forcing them to attend religious services would push them further away? Cause them to reject and resent your religion even more?



If my child chose to believe in the Christian god. What could I possibly do to force him not to believe? You cannot control a person's mind, short of brainwashing.



I'm also curious, if this convention was signed by all countries in the UN (aside from 2) how come spanking is still legal in many UN countries?

Sherri - posted on 07/27/2011

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Where is the whole article listed?? I already answered what I had a problem with, with what was listed above. I assumed that was it obviously there is a lot more to this and I wasn't aware of it.



Right now in the US, children are not even afforded the same rights as adults.



They shouldn't as they are children (they can not make decisions on anything regarding their care, upbringing etc and until they reach 18 yrs of age they shouldn't be able too).. Sorry when they are adults then they will be afforded the same rights as an adult.

Tara - posted on 07/27/2011

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Sherri, could you be more clear on which parts you don't support?
I'm just curious because the majority of the rights in the charter are pretty basic things, freedom from confinement, a right to an education, a right to not be sold or traded, a right to health care. A right to live free of discrimination....
etc.
I suspect it is the freedom of religion one that irks you the most... so just so you are aware this is what it actually says about religion:

from the child friendly version:

"Article 14
You have the right to choose your own religion
and beliefs. Your parents should help you decide
what is right and wrong, and what is best for you."

What is the issue here Sherri? Why shouldn't children in the US share the same rights as children around the world? Are they less deserving of said Rights? Or are they not as important as other children living on earth? Or are they somehow special and are exempt from the rights enjoyed by all other children in the world?

Not sure why anyone would oppose giving children in the US the same rights that are afforded to every child on earth, and the same basic rights as all humans on earth.
Right now in the US, children are not even afforded the same rights as adults. They are not given rights as people, let alone children.
Why not? What is the big fear that keeps people from giving their children rights?

Sherri - posted on 07/27/2011

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Laura you are completely taking it to the extreme. I never said any of those things. However, the things that are listed on that document I can't and won't support. I can totally understand why the US has not signed it and I am very thankful.

Jenni - posted on 07/27/2011

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I find the lack of rights of a child, allowing parents to use corporal punishment as a means of discipline, eerily similar to the historical lack of rights of a woman/wife:



"The Anglo-American common law originally provided that a husband, as master of his household, could subject his wife to corporal punishment or ,,chastisement' as long as he did not inflict permanent injury on her. During the nineteenth century, an era of feminist agitation for reform of marriage law, courts in England and in the united states declared that a husband no longer had the right to chastise his wife."



"As master of the household, a husband could command his wife's obedience and subject her to corporal punishment or "chastisement" if she defied his authoriry. In his treatise on the English common law, William Blackstone explained that a husband could "give his wife moderate correction,:



[flor, as he is to answer for her misbehaviour, the law thought it reasonable to intrust him with this power of restraining her, by domestic chastisement, in the same moderation that a man is allorved to correct his apprentices or children; for whom the master or parent is also liable in some cases to answer. But this poiver of correction was confined within reasonable bounds, and the husband was prohibited from using

any violence to his wife."



http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/Fa...

Ez - posted on 07/27/2011

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IMO the right for a parent to use physcial punishment as a means of discipline does not supercede a child's right to bodily integrity

This is exactly what I was getting at in that other thread. Parents shouting about their rights, and being allowed to do as they please as long as it 'works', does not justify anything.

Nobody is suggesting children should have free reign, no rules, and just be left to run amok. What many of us are asserting is that they DO have basic human rights, that go beyond food, warmth and shelter. They have the same right not to be struck as adults do. They have the same right to keep all of their working body parts as adults do. Bodily integrity is really a pretty simple concept. We don't take ownership of their body just because we birthed it.

[deleted account]

OK... let's go back to not giving kids any rights then.....

Like I said... I was just offering up an opposite extreme. I shouldn't have posted at all though cuz I don't know how I feel about the topic in the OP.

Isobel - posted on 07/26/2011

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you would give children all of those rights "so long as it started at conception" huh? give the government the right to step in and stop corporal punishment, the right to insist that all children have the right to be educated PROPERLY, that all children have the right to remain in tact...so long as the women who have abortions do so illegally (in roughly the same numbers except, of course that the women would die in the process)?

[deleted account]

Or we could hope it gets signed but by giving kids their rights starting from conception..... I'd support it then.

Just figured since you brought up extremes in one direction... I'd go in the other. :)

Isobel - posted on 07/26/2011

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If I know for certain that molestation is not "hurting" my child, or that God doesn't want my daughter to read, or that twelve is the perfect age to marry the leader of my "church"...who are you to say otherwise...right?

Sherri - posted on 07/26/2011

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In my opinion my children are mine. Until they reach the age of 18 and honestly probably longer than that on certain issues. It is my right and my duty to make all and every decision for them (with them once they get old enough to have an educated decision). No my children don't get to decide what discipline they want, no they don't get to decide what religion they choose to follow until they are 18. Also if you commit murder and are a teenager then yes you belong in jail for life. The sex ed and birth control would depend on what ages we are talking about, but no don't really have an issue with this.



The damn gov't needs to stay out of our parenting and honestly I hope they never sign it. As it is they try to have their noses in it entirely too much.

Becky - posted on 07/26/2011

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Have you ever read that Parentalrights.org site? A facebook friend of mine, who obviously agrees with it, posted some quotes from it, so I went to check it out. There is some crazy, paranoid shit on there! Stuff about how it basically gives the government parental rights to our children, etc.

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