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State Rep. Postles introduces parental rights state Constitutional Amendment

Tom Byrne
Delaware Public Media

Legislation is being introduced to enshrine parental rights in Delaware’s Constitution.

State Rep. Charles Postles (R-Milford) is proposing a state Constitutional Amendment that would establish parents have the right to the care, custody and control of their children. It would bar infringement by the state unless there’s a compelling interest and the least intrusive.

Postles said he knows a case where a 13-year-old is able to make healthcare decisions without parental involvement because of state and federal privacy laws. He says a child can’t make those kind of decisions.

“We have said that children, young adults have to be 21 to be able to buy cigarettes, but at age 13, parents don’t have to be involved in decision making on medical issues and other similar issues,” he said.

Postles said the amendment could also address other examples - like the attempt by Gov. John Carney’s administration to draft a non-discrimination policy for school districts. That proposal included allowing transgender students to use facilities corresponding with their gender identity.

“The schools could be involved, had that policy gone through as originally proposed, could be involved in decisions with a child without the parent’s involvement or knowledge or permission," he said.

It was abandoned last year after being mired in controversy.

To change the Delaware Constitution, amendments must pass both chambers in two consecutive General Assemblies.

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