Paschal attends signing ceremony for ‘Parental Rights Protection Act’

Published 12:58 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

MONTGOMERY – Pelham’s own Kenneth Paschal joined Gov. Kay Ivey at a bill signing ceremony that finally passed Paschal’s ​​Parental Rights Protection Act into law. The bill had previously been on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives before eventually being passed. 

The Parental Rights protection act, now officially designated as Act Number 2023 – 555 under the laws of Alabama, recognizes parental rights as “fundamental rights,” which cannot be taken away unless there is a “compelling reason” to do so, rather than “ordinary rights,” which allow parental decisions to be overridden by state government more easily.

“By passing and signing this bill into law, the Legislature and Gov. Ivey have statutorily defined what level of protection parents have regarding raising the children without government intervention,” Paschal said.  “This new law is based upon long-standing precedents set by both the Alabama Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court, and it ensures that the God-granted, decision-making power afforded to parents in raising their children is guaranteed, protected, and preserved.”

Detractors of the bill have commented that the vague language of a “compelling reason” could be exploited. Parents of LGBTQ+ youth throughout the state have expressed concern that the law could negatively affect their ability to provide medical care, such as hormone blockers, to transgender children.

Opponents of the bill have also worried about the bill being similar to the federal “Parents’ Bill of Rights” currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would require public schools to have their curriculum and texts available online and subject to parental objections and changes. This ‘micromanagement’ of classrooms by parents, while often well-intentioned, has been linked to teacher burnout and a lack of retention in the profession.

Despite these concerns, Paschal maintains that the bill exists to solidify parents’ rights to their children and will increase the level of protection parents have raised their children without government interference, referring to it as a “common sense bill” on more than one occasion.