By CHEC Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
Parental Rights: The Fight Continues
At an event last weekend where I was representing CHEC in the Lakewood area, I was approached by a mom with a baby in hand and three little ones in tow. She wanted to thank me for standing up for parental rights in Colorado. Her story brought tears to my eyes and a renewed strength to keep fighting because it is the right thing to do.
She, her husband, and four children were living in Sweden when she became ill. The doctor believed her illness to be the result of stress, and when he found out she was a mom with four small children, he decided that sending a social worker to the house was the best solution. You see, in Sweden, children have separate rights from their parents – which means that parents have no rights when it comes to their children, only responsibilities. Thankfully, they were able to get back to the States before anything serious happened.
Parents do not have a fundamental right to direct the care, upbringing, and education of their children in Sweden. For now, in Colorado, we have that right. But, every day when the legislature is in session, that right is in danger. A friend in the battle directed me to a bill that I, frankly, had passed over, thinking it was no big deal. But delving into the bill further, there did appear to be a problem.
Tuesday of this week, I testified to the parental rights and data privacy concerns I saw in HB18-1006 Modifications to the Newborn Hearing Screening. One of the concerns was that the bill added confusion about whether parents have the right to opt-out of some or all of the newborn screening tests. The law clearly states the program is voluntary and allows for parental exemptions, yet, is that how it is being practiced in the state of Colorado? Have you or any of your friends had a problem with newborn screenings? Please, contact me if you have. We need your testimony.
The other major concern was the creation of a new database to house the results of the newborn hearing screening tests. After my testimony, I was assured that they would consider adding a provision for parents to opt-out of having their child’s data in this system. I will continue to reach out to add that provision as the bill moves to the Senate.
I am thankful that God is gracious and guides people to help me. I know that I am not alone in this battle and I appreciate your prayer support!
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Legislative Liaison