I was sad to read about the struggle with National Right to Life (NRLC) regarding the Parental Rights Amendment, and checked with a friend who works for a state branch of NRL. I want to share her response that opened another perspective that I did not get from Farris’s article alone:
Perhaps part of the disconnect comes in from the types of people each organization works with every day. HSLDA and PR work with good parents…parents who really have the best interests of their kids in mind, who want to educate and protect them. NRLC deals daily with parents who want the legal right to kill their children. So of course PR is saying, “We have to give parents the right to protect their kids, because that’s what parents want to do!” And of course NRLC is saying, “Are you kidding? Parents want to kill their children! We have to protect the children!”~Having read both perspectives, I understand where NRLC is coming from. Amending the Constitution is VERY serious, a much bigger deal than changing state law or even federal law. Because the PRA would be enshrined in the Constitution, it’s imperative that it protect the unborn. Giving parents total authority over the lives of their unborn children, in the constitution, would ultimately be very damaging to the pro-life cause.
A constitutional amendment is a Big Deal, and NRLC stepping in to agree it’s a Big Deal is not an attack but a healthy check between two mature, educated and well-meaning organizations.
In choosing to start with a constitutional amendment as its goal, PR has stepped up to the highest standard possible and should be prepared for a rigorous vetting– especially from good-spirited organizations entrusted with a particular focus. Who better than these to understand the present reality as it pertains to the center of their focus?
There need not be any shame in an incremental approach. The more cases that can come together to emphasize the rights of parents, the better aim or case proofs pro-family groups will have in interpreting the function of such an amendment when it is ratified.
I believe that an amendment is needed; I want to feel secure in my place and role to protect my children. But what I can’t bear is the image of pro-abortion advocates waiting behind closed doors, gathering resources, “staying out of our way” only to throw a series of cases into motion as soon as the back door’s paint has dried.
I agree with the NRLC’s position that if this is going to be “enshrined in the Constitution” there cannot be any wrinkles to be ironed out later. If this results in a further delay of a Parental Rights Amendment, so be it. My insecurity (even fear) as I wait is worth the lives of unborn children.