On Bad Logic, Abortion, and Children’s Rights

Blogger Connie, a homeschool mom with eight children, recently wrote a post on why she opposes regulation of homeschooling. (She says it’s because she doesn’t trust the government.) In that post she approvingly showcased an earlier comment on the topic that had been left by a reader:

Public schools and their employees/programs are required to account and report things, and stay accountable, because they are using public dollars and are essentially employees to public money. As such, they do and ought to provide all kinds of accountability to pretty much everyone and their mother/neighbor/tax paying citizen for their choices in manner and method of providing educational services. Parents using their own dollars to educate their children (who, let’s remember, they’re entitled to execute in utero should they so choose!) don’t owe accountability to the state or anyone else.

Connie is extremely and adamantly pro-life, and so, presumably, was the reader who left that comment. Here’s the problem: You can’t use the fact that abortion is legal to argue that parents should be able to do whatever they want with their children’s education with no accountability if you don’t actually believe abortion should be legal. It doesn’t work that way.

Let me put it like this: Connie appears to be suggesting that because abortion, which she believes amounts to killing your child, is legal, you should logically also be able to do whatever you want to your child once its born. But she also believes that abortion should be banned . . . which means that logically she should also believe that you shouldn’t be able to do whatever you want with your child once it’s born . . . which means she should be in favor of some form of accountability when it comes to homeschooling. Except that she isn’t.

Which brings me to another point: The idea that pro-lifers believe that children only have rights before they’re born. Because isn’t that what’s going on here? Connie balks at the idea of being accountable to the state for how she raises or educates her children. She wants them to leave her alone and let her do whatever she wants with her children. Do I think Connie is an abusive parent? No. I just don’t think she’s entirely thought this through. It’s only before birth that she wants the government to step in and tell women what they can and can’t do with what she views as their children. Before birth? All the rights in the world. After birth? The child is the property of the parent. Accountability? Ha! Parents’ rights.

Which brings me to the other time I’ve seen this same cocktail of arguments and issues. Michael Farris, you see, would very much like to get a parental rights amendment passed. He has drafted one himself, and he has 60 cosponsors in the House. Here is how it reads:

The Proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

SECTION 1

The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right.

SECTION 2

The parental right to direct education includes the right to choose public, private, religious, or home schools, and the right to make reasonable choices within public schools for one’s child.

SECTION 3

Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe these rights without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

SECTION 4

This article shall not be construed to apply to a parental action or decision that would end life.

SECTION 5

No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

So here’s an interesting question: Why is Section 4 even there? If you really thinks you need to add a clause to specify that parents’ rights don’t extend to killing their children, I think you might want to rethink the wording of the rest of your amendment. And if you’re worried enough that the wording might indicate that parents have the right to kill their children that you add an exceptions clause to the contrary, don’t you think you should include more than just death in that exceptions clause? Why not specify that parents can’t torture their children, for instance, or otherwise physically abuse them?

The sad thing is, I know the answer. Farris added Section 4 because some of those involved in the drafting were concerned that the amendment might be used to defend abortion under the banner of parents’ rights. He didn’t add the clause because he was concerned about protecting children from death from child abuse, he added the clause because he was concerned about banning abortion. Because banning abortion, apparently, matters more than ensuring that your parental rights amendment does not make child abuse, child torture, and child murder legal.

You know what? I’m really sick of people claiming to care oh so much about little “babies” murdered during abortion, and not giving a shit about actual born children.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com/ KevinKat

    The most blisteringly obvious evidence for their lack of actually caring for living children is that they’ll pass anti-abortion laws while also defunding SNAP

    • Miss_Beara

      In Texas they either defunded or severely cut prenatal care for low income women. I think a lot of them don’t even care about fetuses. They just care about punishing single and married dirty slutty women who have sex with a consequence fetus.

      • j.lup

        Absolutely. They’re not fighting to protect the rights of fetuses, they’re fighting to establish a right that they feel entitled to, specifically, controlling women’s reproductive lives. They don’t give a damn about fetal health or neo-natal health or children’s welfare. All they want to do is make sure that women are punished for having sex, either by enforcing pregnancy or forcing women who seek abortions to have to risk their lives to do so. Right-wingers also hate poor people, whom they hold responsible for their poverty, so when a poor woman irresponsibly gets herself pregnant and has children, she should be punished for that reckless sex, and funding programs that would help her care for her children would only be condoning and encouraging her sexual behaviour and rampant breeding.

  • Gail

    The comment left by the reader on Connie’s blog seems to imply that public school teachers are loyal to the government. I have a family full of public school teachers, and I can tell you this is not universally true (most of them oppose government-run healthcare and some of them are even libertarians). They are mandatory reporters of child abuse, but they take this role seriously because they are loyal to the children they teach and care about, not because they are loyal to the government.

    • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

      because they are loyal to the children they teach and care about

      That right there is the crux of the issue I saw with the comment. The commenter insisted that “accountability” is about “defending the use of people’s tax dollars.” There’s no thought that what educators are accountable for actually giving children a quality education.

      It’s as if entire swaths of homeschoolers have forgotten that the whole reason the federal government made education mandatory is because we decided that children had a right to be educated.

      • Highlander

        It’s not so much that children have a right to be educated, which I believe they do, it’s more that in order to have a successful democracy you have to have an informed populace, without that democracy is just mob rule. I think that is the primary reason why we should educate our children, secondary to that is the fact that without quality education, a society is endangering its economy. I think the reason a child has a right to an education is so they can improve their lives, and through that improvement they can improve others lives. High quality education is the route out of poverty and every time our government cuts education so we can all pay lower taxes, they are just kicking the can down the road, because we will pay for it in the end with higher costs for entitlement programs such as food stamps and welfare. If our government would cut just 5% of the defense and security aid spending, they could increase education spending by 50%. But conservative hawks want tanks and planes, not kids who know how to design tanks and planes.

  • Norm Donnan

    To say parents who home school think they can do with their children whatever they want is shameful.These would be the same parents who have devoted their lives on the whole , to getting the best from their children.What they care so much about the unborn children is,no you shouldnt kill them,how unreasonable of them.

    • KarenJo12

      Norm, the homeschoolers referenced in the post say exactly that parents should be able to do what they want with kids.

      As to whether home school parents want the best for their children, does that include considering what the children want?

    • Trollface McGee

      Yes, lets just ignore all the cases where homeschooling “pro-life” parents have abused, tortured, in some cases murdered their children. Let’s just ignore kids growing up brainwashed, without an education, without skills to live in the modern world. Yep, lets close our eyes, stick our heads in the sand, pretend that every parent is good, that anyone who sticks the “pro-life” label on themselves is de facto a perfect parent and go back to what it’s really about – punishing pregnant sluts.

      • “Rebecca”

        “anyone who sticks the “pro-life” label on themselves is de facto a perfect parent”

        This brings a lot of frustrations to mind. I remember my extremely anti-abortion, anti-birth-control family members bragging about how we weren’t like those awful pro-choicers, because all of us kids were unplanned and therefore “gifts from God” who were automatically “wanted.” Sad thing is, I rarely did feel wanted. I was pretty much ignored by my parents most of the time, and in some ways neglected or abused by them.

      • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

        Sad thing is, I rarely did feel wanted. I was pretty much ignored by my
        parents most of the time, and in some ways neglected or abused by them.

        I just wanted to say that this sounds like an awful childhood to live through. I’m sorry it was your experience.

      • “Rebecca”

        Thanks. There were some good times too, my older siblings took care of me and I do have a few very good memories of my parents. At this point I feel that to truly have “wanted” kids, you can’t just talk the talk and say how great your ideology is, you have to walk the walk and actually raise them.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        I’m sorry that you felt like that.

        I am however absolutely confused by the logic of “being unplanned, therefore wanted.” I’m much more familiar with the idea “being unplanned, therefore not really wanted”, which a lot of German tv shows use to get drama into a family situation: The child discovers that the parents weren’t trying to have a child, and gets the idea that it wasn’t really wanted.

      • “Rebecca”

        The idea was that “wanting children” and not using birth control is the default state of a God-fearing person, and if you use birth control it shows that your heart is against God’s plan and you don’t want his blessings. Or something.

      • Trollface McGee

        I was an accident baby and my mum considered abortion, but she made the choice to have me and I was always felt honoured by that. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to imagine growing up knowing that you exist because your mum felt obligated to have you.
        Then again, I think it’s more about how your family treats you after you exist than the circumstances of your birth.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        It’s one of the tropes in tv that annoys me a lot, because it always seemed stupid to me. I mean I get that if you discover that you were unplanned in addition to always feeling unwanted, that this can give you the extra confirmation. But if you felt loved, why the heck would it matter so much that you parents didn’t plan on having you? Haven’t these people ever heard of getting gifts you didn’t know you wanted, until you got them?

        With this I don’t mean that one should be obligated to have the child. Or consider getting pregnant a gift no matter the circumstances. Just that being unplanned alone seemed always a stupid reason to think oneself unwanted. My cousin had an unplanned pregnancy (I’m pretty sure…), but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her daughter.

      • kisarita

        and some planned children become unwanted. sometimes the reality doesn’t match up to the parents fantasy. or sometimes they changed their mind. or sometimes they needed the kid to resolve some inner baggage of their own or whatever. or external expectations. Planning is good, but it aint everything.

      • kisarita

        or as in my case, they didn’t like the way you turned out. hoped you’d be more like them. sure they wanted a child- but a different child, not you.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        Exactly. This is why I hate this idea. The fact that parents wanted and planned for a child doesn’t mean they liked what they got. The fact that they didn’t plan, doesn’t mean they didn’t enjoy the outcome.

        And I’m sorry that happened to you.

      • NeaDods

        Anti-choice protesters have told me “Aren’t you glad your mother chose to have you?” And I say “she CHOSE to have me. I know nobody forced her.” And they have no idea what to do with that, every time. For them, it’s all obligation, never a choice.

      • The_L1985

        I’ve also heard parents describe 1 or more of their kids as a “happy accident”–they weren’t trying to have a child, but one happened and they decided they were happy to have a new baby coming.

      • Beutelratti

        Ugh, I’m so fed up with a lot of German TV shows. Recently there was an episode about a woman who was coerced into an abortion by her then-fiancé: “If you don’t have an abortion, I’m leaving you!” The woman had the abortion and her fiancé left her anyway. She then became a nymphomaniac and it turned out that she only slept around because she desperately wanted to get pregnant again and “replace” the pregnancy she had terminated. In the end she even asked random strangers on the street if they would please get her pregnant, no strings attached! The woman eventually told her sister (who just happened to be a stay-at-home mother) about the abortion and her sister was yelling at her: “How could you have killed your child! It needed your protection! I’ve lost all respect for you! Get out of my life!” The woman was left sobbing and then sought professional help and was continually told that she can’t undo her abortion to which she replied: “I killed my child! I want it back!” Eventually her sister got around and supported her again.

        I was flabbergasted and disgusted at the same time. Not only that I’ve yet to see one instance on TV where a woman’s choice is not presented in a horrible light, but also the mere implication that an abortion turns you into a nymphomaniac who wants to “replace” a terminated pregnancy by banging random strangers was so ridiculous and insane that I considered writing a letter of complaint to the channel.

      • Liz

        Damn. My parents have been watching various British mystery shows where the killer usually turns out to be some unstable or scheming woman, and I thought that was offensive enough…

      • TurelieTelcontar

        What show was that? And on what channel?

        I find it interesting, because the “family shows” on the public channels (ard, zdf) have a lot of times the young woman of the family getting pregnant, and making a big show about her not knowing what to do. But then usually the whole family promises to support her, and the child’s father, too, and so she keeps it.

      • Beutelratti

        Oh, it was on Vox “Hilf mir doch!”. I should’ve known not to watch such garbage. I forgot to mention that the woman also ended up kidnapping another woman’s baby from the hospital. It was insane.

        I noticed too that on other channels the choice is always to keep the pregnancy. And the women and girls that are being portrayed always claim that they could never kill their baby. It’s really a very one-sided issue. Abortion is never actually presented as an option.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        Actually, the shows I mentioned, they do usually make a big show about her choosing. And considering abortion. It’s just interesting that she never goes through with it.

        On the other hand, I kind of get it. Because it’s usually also a very intact family life, and with no complications, loving parents who support you, a boyfriend who supports you, and the German laws for childcare, I guess I’d make the same choice.

      • Beutelratti

        Yes, you have a point. However, I don’t think that’s how it usually plays out in reality. I consider a girl who gets pregnant at 14 and has the continuing support of her family and her boyfriend to be very lucky. The stark contrast is that in reality there are girls who get pregnant very young, never finish school, never learn any job and sometimes end up living off of Hartz IV for a very long time and neither have the support of their family (which might have a bunch of problems of its own) nor that of their boyfriends/sexual partners. I feel like it is those girls that are most vulnerable to be influenced by the constant claim that “killing your baby is wrong”. And I did see that claim being made a lot…

        Or maybe I’m just really watching the wrong channels, haha.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        Well, my tv watching consists mainly of either American action shows/crime shows, some “Midsummer Murders/Inspektor Barnaby”, or, for German shows, more of the ard/zdf-kind of family shows or crime shows, like soko, a bit of landarzt. And the main characters there are more like I mentioned.

        I usually avoid the soaps like the plague, and things like that on private channels even more. So, just that you get kind of a feeling what I’m talking about. And on these ard/zdf-shows, I don’t actually remember any “killing babies” comments. They seem to always be very careful to make a show about her considering abortion in a “that’s totally a valid choice”-way. While still showing everyone choosing differently. But then, as I said, they are luckily usually in very good positions.

        And yeah, I agree with you about reality. And that it sucks to be influenced like that.
        And now I have to wonder whether, if shows on private channels differ, that is a result of churches influencing some things. Because there’s also quite a few “religious commercials”.

      • Beutelratti

        Yeah, it really seems to be limited to the private channels then, which is a bit of a relief. I avoid soaps, too. I was talking more about these “advice”-shows which sometimes are a guilty pleasure of mine, I have to admit that. However, the episode I described above really made me rethink what I watch on TV.

        And yes, that is a very interesting point about the churches! I think Vox is owned by the RTL-group and RTL regularly shows “bible clips”. I have to note though, that ARD/ZDF show whole worships on Sundays … which sort of pisses me off, because there’s no (legal) way to not pay for ARD/ZDF if I want to have TV at all. I feel like I have to somehow sponsor worships on public TV.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        Oh yes. The churches have their say, as they are in the oversight comittee over the public shows. But then, so are parties and other organizations, so at least they can’t put their agenda on everything.

        And yes, it sucks that there’s worships on sundays. But on the other hand, I’d rather have them have their hour on sundays, and less say in the rest of the program, then have no worship, and have them more influence the rest of the time. Worship hours are at least clearly marked and easy to avoid. ;-) Best would of course be to get rid of it altogether.

      • Beutelratti

        Yes, good point again. I still think it should ideally be moved to a Christian channel. Things like these just show that our church/state-separation is a bit lacking, to put it mildly.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        Church/State separation? There is such a thing? ;-P

        I mean, I was glad when our minister president actually had a reception for ramadan, instead of having a reception for christmas, and leaving ramadan to a minister.
        And I’m an atheist. *grumble*

      • Beutelratti

        Oh boy, I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that feels that way! I am so frustrated that even the non-religious will claim that “this is a Christian nation with Christian values”. Yes, let’s all bury our heads in the sand, because this is a Christian nation and we should just let the churches do whatever the heck they want! Who cares about secularism? What’s that?!

      • TurelieTelcontar

        Exactly! I can’t stand to hear that.

        And I’m seriously not sure how it can be changed, when the overwhelming reaction is apathy. 80% of the population would support opening marriage – but 43% are perfectly willing to vote for the party that’s strictly against it, and that has some serious problems with the idea of democracy, because they think they are good for the economy.

        And the churches are allowed to do whatever they want, because people forget every time something happens. I just don’t get it. What happened to all the anger over the woman who didn’t get an exam after probably being raped, because the doctors didn’t want to give her plan B? I had hope that people would actually react. But no, now we have a new pope, and people don’t see the bad influence, because most people are not religious enough to take him seriously, and so they can’t believe anyone else does.

        Volker Pispers said it well: “Muslims. That’s those people who take their religion seriously. For Catholics unimaginable.”

      • Beutelratti

        Yes, apathy! That’s it. There’s a huge outcry one day and then a few days later nothing. A German pope hides the abuse of children? Ah well, it happens… A rape victim gets denied by Catholic hospitals? Ah well, they are Catholic, let them be…

        I am so fed up with this nonsense. I really want to find some humanist or atheist organisations or meet-ups near me, because I honestly cannot stand the “whatever”-looks I get everytime I say something confrontational.

      • TurelieTelcontar

        The strange thing is, I went to a very religious phase as a child. Because of Karl May. (Yeah…) Anyway, he presented Christianity as this very Humanist philosophy, and it sounded great. My mother was very anti-church, but let me be. Once I realized how non-humanist the Catholic church was, it didn’t take long to completely turn around my way of thinking of it. (I was baptized Catholic, therefore going to Catholic religious education).
        And yet, I left church ages before my mother, who was very anti-church, but thought getting out was too much trouble.

        And yeah, I’m sick of those looks too. Or the “our little atheist” – something my ex said. Among the reasons he is my ex. Just sounded too damn condescending.
        Although, I get some results with opening questions, and then leaving the other person to ponder. Or just mention a little tidbit of information, in a “by the way, did you know…” even if it’s a rage-inducing bit of information.

        I’m unsure whether to look for humanist/atheist groups, because I’m afraid there’s other rage-induing stuff going on. Like the whole “Sexism? That’s so behind us….”

        If you want to talk some more – or maybe figure out whether we live near each other and could talk about some local stuff, or even meet, you could email me. It’s my posting name, plus @gmail.com, if you are interested.

      • Beutelratti

        Ugh, yes. My very own brother told me this morning that I should see it as a compliment if a guy screams “YOU HAVE NICE TITS!!!” at me at night. Yes, sexism is so totally behind us.

        Sure thing! I’ll mail you in a sec! I didn’t think I’d find another German atheist on an American blog. I guess it’s true what they say: The Germans are everywhere. ;D

      • Olive Markus

        Me, too!

      • The_L1985

        Vox is definitely a Christianist station. We have that drivel here, along with EWTN, the Catholic channel.

      • kisarita

        the only show i watched that had a woman actually going through with the abortion- and not being sorry about it,- was an egyptian movie in arabic.

      • Beutelratti

        Grey’s Anatomy! Christina gets pregnant from her boyfriend (and boss), schedules an abortion, but then has an ectopic pregnancy.
        She later gets pregnant from her husband and though he says that he really wants a child with her, she tells him again that she simply is not mother-material and that she always told him that she never wanted children and terminates the pregnancy. Yes, Christina is often portrayed as a heartless person, which probably doesn’t make her decision more “appealing” to a big audience, but I was so relieved that the creators of the show actually made her go through with it and kept the character consistent and didn’t turn her into the “Oh, I guess my motherly instincts finally started to show, I’m so looking forward to being a mother after all!”-type.

      • Jayn

        I’ve been wondering if the new Degrassi series has done any pregnancy storylines. I know the old one had at least two–one girl carried to term, one had an abortion. I don’t know if they ever did a follow-up with the second, but the first gave her a bit of a “It was the right choice for me, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you” speech.

      • Nancy Shrew

        Yes. I watched a lot of Degrassi: The Next Generation (the first six seasons before I lost interest) and there were two major pregnancy story lines: Manny and Liberty. Manny decided to get an abortion and (amazingly) nothing bad happened (well, the guy who got her pregnant was pissed, but she was unapologetic about her choice). Liberty continued the pregnancy and gave the baby up for adoption. There was also a teen mother in the later seasons, so the show kind of covered all the bases of what a girl can choose.

      • kisarita

        then there’s the other genre in which someone plans to have an abortion but changes her mind and gets off the table in the last minute and everything works out fine in the end. what about when not everything works out fine in the end???? you don’t see those stories.

      • Jayn

        “all of us kids were unplanned and therefore “gifts from God” who were automatically “wanted.”

        ..the hell? You don’t plan for things you don’t want–if you plan for a child, they’re wanted. If you don’t, they may or may not be. I kind of get the underlying logic chain, but it feels like someone swapped out a few links.

        Personally, I’m glad I can tell my child when ze was planned, that I CHOSE to get pregnant.

      • ArachneS

        I had this kind of upbringing, and feelings too. There were many of us and as one of the quiet introverted ones, I felt relatively invisible in my family. And not only did I feel like my family didn’t know me or “see” me, I had this overwhelming feeling that they were not going to be there for me if I needed advice or encouragement.
        I was amazed when other teenagers(that I worked with as a teenager) talked about how their parents helped them get opportunities for jobs or academic extracurriculars to help them with their future. The financial aid at my community college looked amazed at me when I didn’t even try to fill out a fafsa form at 18. I was signing up for English and math classes(which I hadn’t done in 3 years of “homeschool” and I told him I wasn’t going to be able to get financial aid. He made a comment about how “rich” I must be” and I didn’t tell him that beyond a doubt, my parents would not complete the fafsa form for me. My whole relationship with my parents as a teenager was adversarial. I didn’t have a “wanted” feeling despite all the talk.

      • “Rebecca”

        Oh yeah, I definitely remember the feeling that your parents wouldn’t care about your problems. I kept nearly all my problems to myself and suffered them alone most times. Sometimes I would tell my siblings, but my parents? Never. I had a couple of friends who would tell their moms everything: their crushes and hopes and health concerns, and I just thought it was the weirdest thing.

      • sunnysidemeg

        Oh, I’ve been there. It got filled out, but so damn late that I missed out on everything but the Pell grant. Because the headache of doing one little 20 minute chore FOR ME was way bigger and more important than saving me thousands of dollars.

        What makes me sad is that people can’t comprehend it. They think it’s rare or unusual, and I’m glad that they haven’t experienced it, but I know there are many who go through the same or have parents who outright refuse. And they also don’t realize that you have no recourse – you can’t file as independent until 24 unless you have documented legal issues like a restraining order against them.

      • Olive Markus

        I’ve seen it myself, all around me since I was old enough to comprehend. There isn’t one piece of me that feels guilty for believing that if you’re going to bring a child into the world, you’d better love and validate it. That parents don’t is extremely common. However, the parents doing it don’t believe they’re doing it. My own pro-life, conservative, Catholic god-parents were (and are) hideous parents. But they claim they love their children so much and would do anything for them! The fact is, though, they won’t even carry out the most basic, smallest acts of kindness towards them, let alone anything else.

        I care about children. I don’t give a damn about a few fertilized cells.

        ETA: And I’m extremely sorry you were brought up this way. You deserve better.

      • Olive Markus

        I’m so incredibly sorry :(.

    • Sophie

      Wow Norm, do you even read this blog? Three entires ago was a entry about a homeschooling parents who KILLED their child! And that isn’t the first family in which that happened who have featured in this blog. Libby has written about her own family life, one instance where her parents withheld food from her toddler sister for more than 24 hours! This blog is also affiliated with Homeschoolers Anonymous, which has accounts of horrific abuse that was inflicted by those people’s parents. Where the hell are you getting this idea that ALL homeschooling parents are looking out for their children’s best interests?

    • Composer 99

      What nonsense, Norm:

      To say parents who home school think they can do with their children whatever they want is shameful.

      No, what is shameful is that there are parents, and allies (such as the HSLDA and the sponsors of the amendment Libby Anne discusses in the OP) who really do want to be able to do whatever they want to their children, with no accountability or consideration of their children’s rights or interests.

      What is also shameful is that you are willing to completely ignore almost everything discussed in the OP so you can make a statement such as the above.

      These would be the same parents who have devoted their lives on the whole , to getting the best from their children.

      Flatly contradicted by the evidence discussed by Libby Anne, as well as her description of her life experiences, and her sharing of other homeschooled children’s experiences.

      The parents who are most interested in doing “with their children whatever they want” are the same ones who seem least interested in “getting the best” from them.

    • Lorelei

      Talk to my parents, who pulled me out of school expressly because they were upset that a routine screen showed that I badly needed glasses, and their continued refusal to get me said needed glasses (my vision was 20/240!) prompted the school to say they’d call CPS for neglect.

      I was also being sexually abused, so my parents were afraid of heightened scrutiny, based on their refusal to get a low-status female needed care. Oh, and that some bruises might be found, because I was beaten regularly.

      But I’m SURE you know best, and that my parents really did, as my father said during his sentencing, do *everything* for my benefit. Including the years of sexual abuse starting at age 12, hmmm?

      They were also very much against abortion.

    • Japooh

      I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but this phrase caught my eye – getting the best from their children.

      If this is NOT a typo, you just identified the problem. For the most part, those of us here who disagree with you would state it as – getting the best FOR our children.

      Care about ALL the children of the world, not just the ones you might have had some involvement in the conception of. They ALL deserve the best we can provide for ALL of them.

      Did you even read the article?

      • Norm Donnan

        Yes you are right but caring for all the children in the world is just wishful thinking,start with the ones at home.

      • Japooh

        Read the article, THEN comment. Your “shouldn’t kill them, so unreasonable” remark is misplaced and rude.

      • Japooh

        I’ll keep my rose colored glasses on, thanks. I take the well being of children seriously.

  • Niemand

    I always wondered about this. Fetuses are innocent beings that must be protected at all costs (including to them) but children are willful sacks of sin who must be broken. What sort of sense does that make?

    It goes along nicely with my repeated claim that the average member of the “pro-life” movement doesn’t believe that fetuses are really babies. They are just too uninterested in saving fetus’ lives for that claim to be viable. They’re interested in preventing abortion but not in preventing miscarriage, despite the much higher rate of miscarriage.

    Imagine a world in which 30% of newborns who survived the first 2 weeks of life were murdered. Pretty grim world, right? If you were suddenly thrust into that world, you’d probably want to decrease the infanticide rate. But at the same time, 80% of newborns died in the first 2 weeks of life. Isn’t that also a problem worthy of intervention? I’d be extremely interested in saving the 80% of newborns who were dying, possibly even moreso that I would be interested in saving the infanticide victims: it’s actually an easier problem to solve. (Intervening medically is easier than changing people’s social behaviors.) I certainly wouldn’t refuse to even consider the issue of why the newborns were dying until there were no infanticide cases. I’d consider anyone who thought that the infanticide cases were the only ones of importance to public health to be crazy and heartless. Ignore the deaths of so many newborns? Impossible!

    The world I described is the “real world” if the “pro-life” movement is right and every fertilized egg is a person. Yet they are, nearly universally, totally uninterested in saving the miscarriages. They sigh and talk about “god’s will” or about how we don’t know how to prevent the miscarriages (not entirely true, but even if it were, we don’t know because we as a society have not prioritized the research that would be needed to find the causes and solutions to the problem) and generally express disinterest in finding any solution to this problem.

    Dying babies are a big deal. We spend a lot of money trying to prevent the relatively small number of deaths related to SIDS. If we aren’t equally interested in saving embryos, zygotes, and fetuses this must mean that we don’t consider them babies. Just not believable.

    • enuma

      I would surmise that these people largely overlap with those who, when presented with the hypothetical “burning fertility clinic” scenario where they have to choose between saving either a single baby or ten embryos, simply refuse to answer.

      • Trollface McGee

        Ugh, I remember an article on “Christian” news about how they saved a bunch of embryos (who are probably now, statistically, in the trash or still frozen) from a hospital that lost power in Katrina… while people were in that hospital dying because their life support wasn’t being powered… and they presented that story as “pro-life.”

      • enuma

        That’s horrifying.

      • Miss_Beara

        Compassion they have with human life ends at birth.

      • Niemand

        To make matters worse, some of the people dying because their life support was failing probably could have been saved if someone–for example the “pro-life” people busily rescuing embryos–had given them ventilation by hand until an alternate power source could be found. Some probably were saved that way, but there’s only so much that a limited number of personnel can do.

      • Trollface McGee

        They hired a helicopter with the gadgetry to keep the embryo tank from losing function, surely that could have been hooked up to at least one person. There were other real pro-life organisations going around hospitals and nursing homes trying to keep people alive, bringing in generators and personel so I’m hoping that those people got help from them.
        It was just the gall that they would even make a story like that given what was going on at the time.

      • Niemand

        They hired a helicopter with the gadgetry to keep the embryo tank from
        losing function, surely that could have been hooked up to at least one
        person.

        If it was able to keep an entire bank’s worth of embryos going, it probably would have saved at least one hospital’s ICU.

        There were lots of people doing their best to prevent the deaths of severely ill patients in New Orleans during Katrina, but some people died nonetheless. Perhaps they died needlessly.

      • Semipermeable

        Yes, I remember hearing about that story.

        I have heard the pro-choice argument that hypothetically throws an embryo test tube and a newborn up in the air, and asks if anyone would actually hesitate to save the newborn first. I’ve always thought it a valid argument until I hear stories like this and it occurs to me that there actually are people who might save the test tube.

      • Niemand

        I see their point: there’s no way for them to win on that one. Either they do the decent thing and rescue the baby, thereby indicating that they understand that the baby is more important than the embryos, or they rescue the embryos and admit that they’d leave a baby to burn to death to save some cell clusters.

        The fact that this is no win for the “pro-life” side should say something to them…

    • tsara

      “Fetuses are innocent beings that must be protected at all costs (including to them) but children are willful sacks of sin who must be broken. What sort of sense does that make?”
      It’s been said before, but I think it bears repeating: it’s likely a combination of Christian ‘born in sin’ attitudes and the wider culture’s (Christian-influenced, obviously) love of redemption stories (with the assumption/subtext that the only people with unplanned pregnancies fall on the ‘wh*re’ side of the madonna/wh*re dichotomy and therefore require redemption).

      EDIT: basically, fetishizing ‘innocence’ and redemption.

      • enuma

        So does the cervix act like a brush that applies a layer of original sin as the baby comes out? Or does the sin enter along with their first lungful of air so that the C-section babies can get their original sin too? Quick, everyone, stop breathing! The air is laced with sin!

        And if we “born” into sin, then aren’t we doing babies a favor by aborting them before sin has a chance to enter their souls? Abortion would be like a direct ticket to heaven.

      • tsara

        You would think, wouldn’t you.
        I have no idea how they make sense of that.

      • Machintelligence

        For a very snarky reply , I offer the following

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-mB27_YA6w

      • Niemand

        Yeah, this sort of thing makes me question whether they really believe in Heaven either.

      • Sally

        They just avoid putting it all together. They believe unbelievably contradictory things at the same time.

      • NeaDods

        You know the ones who commit atrocities don’t believe in Hell. Not *really.*

      • j.lup

        From what I understand, having been raised in an atheist family and having no formal religious instruction, The Virgin Mary herself was conceived without the taint of Original Sin, having been, in effect, baptized by God in utero – this being the Immaculate Conception that many people confuse with the conception of Christ within Mary by God. Regular babies have to wait for post-birth baptism, so it would seem that Original Sin ‘enters’ at the moment of conception (how nice of God to make sure that happens), or is part of an embryo’s DNA, or Sin is all just an evil and appalling lie made up by people who want to take your money and control your life for you.

      • enuma

        Which of course begs the question, if Mary can be conceived without Original Sin, why can’t everyone else?

      • Mackinz

        Because poor, omnipotent Yahweh has to rest after the least strenuous things, don’t cha know?

      • The_L1985

        Yes to all of the above. I was raised RCC, and the sheer level of inconsistency still bugs me.

      • Semipermeable

        It is interesting that if you read genesis, the original sin is disobeying god and seeking knowledge.

        They literally demonize knowledge and reason as the domain of Satan.

        If that isn’t illuminating then I don’t know what is.

      • Japooh

        Wow, I never thought of that – and now that you’ve pointed it out, I feel kind of foolish for not noticing it myself…

    • kisarita

      in your hypothetical situation, preventing the natural deaths would probably do a lot to change the cultural mores and reducing the infanticide or even eliminating it. the newborn babies are not seen as fully alive because they are most likely to die anyway. not sure if that has any bearing on our situation or not.

  • http://aztecqueen2000.blogspot.com/ AztecQueen2000

    Opposing regulation is fine–IF you go off the assumption that all homeschoolers are equipped to give their children the best education possible, and IF you assume that is their goal. Sadly, as we have seen too many times, that is not always the case. How many families homeschool to isolate their kids from bad influences? How many homeschool to avoid the “evil gubmint schools” How many stories are there of negligent or overtaxed parents who simply do not have the skill set to properly teach their kids?
    For the record, I am a homeschool parent. My state, NY, tightly regulates homeschooling. Although I get a little annoyed with the paperwork sometimes, I figure that since I have nothing to hide, there’s nothing wrong with letting the Board of Education know what I’m doing. It also keeps me on track to ensure that we actually finish what we start.

    • Abby Normal

      The thing that bugs me about homeschoolers that oppose regulations is that they seem to assume that how they educate their children (or don’t) effects no one but themselves.

      Well, sorry folks– if you treat your children like mushrooms (keep ‘em in the dark and feed ‘em shit) it’s all well and good if all they do is stay in the bunker for the rest of their lives. But if these warped, uneducated little individuals are going to be out living in the community around me? Well, I think I, as a taxpayer, ought to have a bit of a say in their education.

      (not talking about you, Aztec, just the ‘OMG gubbmint’ types)

      • Semipermeable

        “The thing that bugs me about homeschoolers that oppose regulations is that they seem to assume that how they educate their children (or don’t) effects no one but themselves.”

        This exactly!

        Also, each child that has a weak education (not just homeschool, mind you..) has one more obstacle between them and getting where they want to be.

        That paired with how vulnerable homeschool kids are to abusive and controlling guardians means that states should keep a close eye on these kinds of things. In my mind it is to easy for abusers to take these kids off the grid and away from any help.

    • Miss_Beara

      Libby Anne wrote about the deregulation of Iowa homeschooling laws a few months ago. One of the quotes from a parent or a lawmaker applauded the fact that they don’t have to go through red tape and all of the paperwork. They want to easier on them, not the children. They don’t want to have to prove that they are teaching their kids what they are suppose to be teaching.

      You seem like a homeschooling parent that others should be.

    • phantomreader42

      If proving that your children are being educated is too much work for you, then you shouldn’t be homeschooling. In fact, you probably shouldn’t be parenting at all.

      • Composer 99

        Seems a bit out of line there, phantomreader42: it’s hardly unreasonable to find paperwork annoying, however justified it is.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        But zie didn’t say “annoying” phantomreader said “too much work to do”

        As in they say they are going to do all the necessary work to provide a good education, but paperwork, that’s too onerous? That’s bs.

      • Composer 99

        Since phantomreader42 appeared to be directly responding to (and hence unreasonably criticizing) AztecQueen2000, barring some correction from phantomreader42 indicating the ‘you’ was used as a general pronoun (to stand in for parents working to dismantle homeschooling oversight), I stand by my claim.

        phantomreader42′s comment, taken at face value, is simply a misinterpretation/misrepresentation of what AztecQueen2000 said. Go back and read it, it’s right there.

        Edit: Situation clarified, all the above is now obsolete.

      • phantomreader42

        Finding it annoying is one thing. Refusing to do it, and demanding that laws be changed so you don’t have to do it, with no regard whatsoever for the needs of the children, is very different.

      • Composer 99

        OK, I may have misunderstood what you were writing.
        Were you directly addressing/criticizing AztecQueen2000, whose worst complaint was grumbling about paperwork?

        Or were you using the ‘you’ pronoun in a more general case, and were in fact referring to the homeschooling parents AQ2000 was hirself criticizing?

        In the latter case, my apologies for the misunderstanding.

        In the former case, you’re still out of line.

      • phantomreader42

        The latter.

      • Composer 99

        Great, thanks for clearing that up, and again my apologies.

    • David Kopp

      I don’t like the “if you’ve got nothing to hide” argument. I’d take “I’ll deal with it to make sure my kids are on track with everyone else” in an overall sense, but EVERYONE has something to hide, and that’s not always bad. As a society, making sure someone has a bathroom is different from watching them use it.

      /off-topic-ish rant

      • The_L1985

        Thanks for this reminder, too.

        To me, there’s a difference: the type/amount of sex you have, and your restroom habits, affect NOBODY except you and your sex partner/s. How you educate your kids and bring them up determines whether you have a well-adjusted, capable, independent adult at the end, or a mentally-unstable or ignorant adult who can’t contribute as well to society. The child suffers from bad parenting, and so does society because we have these maladjusted individuals inflicted on us, requiring the use of lots of resources to “fix” problems that never should have arisen in the first place.

  • Abby Normal

    The arrogance of these people is just amazing.

    When my mom homeschooled my sisters, while she was fairly confident in her ability to teach them, she was afraid of “screwing” them up. We were in a state that didn’t have a lot of regulations for homeschoolers. She wound up having my sisters sit for the same tests that the public school kids took, even though she wasn’t required to, just to have some reassurance that she was doing okay. (She got some flak from the other moms in her co-op for that.). When they got older, she enrolled them in community college courses for foreign languages and higher-level math because she didn’t feel qualified to teach those things.

    It just baffles me that someone who claims to value their child’s education would be so arrogant to assume that only THEIR own fund knowledge is going to be sufficient and that their teaching doesn’t have to be held up to some kind of outside standard.

    • WordSpinner

      I think a lot of well-educated parents could get through elementary school, maybe middle school, but once you get into high school… If the parent doesn’t use it, I doubt they remember enough of it to teach.

      Community colleges are great, though, for learning advanced skills without having to go through high school.

      • Machintelligence

        If the parent doesn’t use it, I doubt they remember enough of it to teach.

        Amen to that. I had to dust off 40 year old knowledge of physics and chemistry to help my daughter with her homework in those subjects. BTW High school chemistry today is much closer to freshman college chemistry of 40 years ago than what was taught in high school back good old days. (There seem to be a lot more elements around now.) ;-)

      • TurelieTelcontar

        I studied chemistry, and was quite taken aback when our professor in physical chemistry told us that what was now the topic in the 3rd semester – quantum mechanics – was done in 7th semester when he studied. So, during the last forty years, the time for studying was halved, and the subject material doubled.

    • Trollface McGee

      I have a degree in poli-sci and law. I also considered being a teacher so I took a year of classes in education, given that (8+ years of higher learning) I think I would be decent in teaching a child social studies/history/probably English/grammar.
      But.. I would be absolutely useless in teaching them anything but basic maths and sciences because I haven’t used anything but basic maths in over a decade and wasn’t too great at the subjects in the first place. So it is rather puzzling how one parent is supposed to teach multiple kids a complete and full education.
      Not to mention that on top of knowing everything, lesson prep is quite time consuming especially with multiple subjects even with pre-made lesson plans.

  • Trollface McGee

    Just because you do not use the public schools or take government money, does not mean you get to do whatever you want to your kid. Would these same people argue that if you earn your own money, you should be able to hire a hit man to kill your neighbour? I mean, it’s your money. But of course not. The neighbour has rights that you would be violating by having him murdered. It’s ridiculous that it’s 2013 and we have to fight against people that would take away those same rights from a child.

    So much of the fundie culture dehumanises children. They are arrows in a quiver, they are part of God’s army, they are examples to the world – they are anything except human beings. It’s sickening. For all the personhood foetus crap they support, they don’t consider their own children to be people.

    • smrnda

      They would probably argue that an employer has a right to abuse employees at the workplace because of all sacred property rights. It’s the standard libertarian idea that ownership of property is the source of rights. If I go to work, I’m on my boss’ turf and if he wants to grab my ass, I can take it or leave his property and they call that ‘freedom.’

      The school is the ‘property’ of taxpayers since they funded it with $$$ and her stance isn’t about rights at all – she’d probably agree that if taxpayers wanted schools to beat kids the schools should do it since the taxpayers are demanding it. The family can do whatever it wants since the parents fund the kids. It basically means that unless you have $$$ you have no rights.

      • enuma

        Because the only kind of force they recognize is literal physical violence. The economic force of needing money to buy food for your family? The threat of your kids going hungry because you walked away from your ass-grabbing boss in a shitty economy? Doesn’t count as force to them.

      • phantomreader42

        They tend not to recognize even actual physical violence as force if doing so is inconvenient for them at the moment…

      • smrnda

        Of course, where did property come from? From seizing and occupying land by violence. No wonder this idea has so much traction in a nation established by violent theft.

  • NoraR

    Yes, parents have rights but so do children. Children have the right to be educated. It’s the government’s responsibility to make sure that’s happening.

  • Kathleen Coleman

    My niece works for child protection in South Carolina. The agency pays their employees less than an animal rescue organization to which she has applied for a job. I am very tired of people professing to care for the rights of unborn children when they consistently underfund or defund services and care for already born children in need.

    • Gail

      Exactly. And many of the problems they complain about with CPS could be solved by funding it properly. If CPS could afford to hire the proper amount of workers, then cases could be independently reviewed by multiple disinterested parties rather than by one overworked person, which would cut down on wrong decisions being made in some cases. But the “parental rights” people would rather just shut it down entirely.

      • Semipermeable

        Imagine how much better things would be if the pro-life movement took even a portion of their fundraising and used it for CPS and advocated for better foster care systems. Or if they actually attempted to improve sex education and classes on relationship dynamics and communication.

        We could all be so much better off if they actually did care about children and not about attacking women’s personal sex lives.

  • CarysBirch

    I love all the praise on that post for the unregulated freedoms of Texas! Where you can freely not vaccinate and not teach your child a goddamn thing if you don’t want to…. But you can’t carry a tampon into a legislative session. Or have a uterus without intense government scrutiny… Just like the frontier!

    • stacey

      TX- where government is there to help out businesses, churches, and limit womens rights.
      Anything else is “big gubbermint”
      What can be bigger than enforcing who marries who, and what goes on in a womans body? Um, yeah.
      F TX. Seriously.

  • smrnda

    Her rationale isn’t based on rights, it’s based on the idea that you’re accountable to people you get money from – schools get taxpayer money, so taxpayers get to say what goes on in schools, and I’m sure she’d be okay with schools beating kids because the taxpayers say that’s what they want. Nothing about rights at all.

    It’s the typical libertarian idea that as long as you aren’t getting $$$ from the government, everybody should stay out of your business. The same thing gets said when libertarians argue that government shouldn’t regulate employer/employee relations since “it’s my money!”

    If rights are based on having money, then we’d be in big trouble.

  • MaJoRoesch

    While it sounds like she is having cognitive dissonance, her beliefs are actually very consistent. She just twists it around that way because she can’t say it straight up. Observe.

    “I believe that the government should constrain the rights of parents so they all do as I believe. But the government cannot have any control over me and my kids, cause they could force other people’s beliefs on me and violate my rights.”

    See how that fits perfectly with what she said? It isn’t about rights at all. It’s about making everyone conform to her ideals whether they like it or not.

  • Semipermeable

    The whole pro-life argument is, superficially that pregnancies are whole persons who are entitled to rights and care from the parent. Because they consider that pregnancy to be a legally separate entity.

    The logic LA points out clearly does not consider children to be individuals with their own inherent rights. They are not owed care, privacy, free speech, medical attention, education or even food. They are 100% property of the parent and if all is left to the parent’s discretion, then I guess it is ok not to feed children for a few days, right? This gives no recourse for abuse and in that nature is terrifying.

    I have a few old friends in abusive marriages, and in nearly all of them the abusers insist on homeschooling to keep the children away from other adults that could expose them. They also deny their children basic medical care such as immunizations and doctor’s appointments for the same reason. They all use the ‘parents rights/corrupt government/corrupt medical system’ as smoke screens to basically hide their children and wives away.

    I notice that the spelled out document is about the parent’s rights and entitlements, but not their responsibilities.

    These bloggers may not be abusive parents, but when they advocate lack of oversight they certainly contribute to the smokescreen that hides the ones that are.

    It is interesting to think that once these kids are adults, if the parents chose not to adequately prepare them for living in society and independence then it is society and the children that shoulder the burden.

    Civilization has an interest in insuring that as many children as possible will grown up, be educated and able to participate.

    • kisarita

      if you have knowledge of abuse going on of children, you should call the appropriate government agency. their parent can’t or won’t, and they don’t go tot school, if not you than who?

      • Semipermeable

        I have reached out to as many agencies as possible, but a lot of the abuse is emotional in nature and the victims seem nearly brainwashed. An example being one of the wives has a curfew, and the partner threatened to kill her pets if she missed it. She just accepts this as a rational rule, and jokes about it casually. The other husband threatens to kill himself, and had his victim convinced that Obama’s election would mean the end of the world. One of them talked about losing her ‘cell phone’ privileges. As if she was a teen dealing with a parent.

        Several of us keep a record of what we see/observe, call the police and cps when we can, and work to keep the communication channels open. There isn’t much more we can do, both abusers have wormed their way out of various sanctions. One of the women had a protective order against her then boyfriend before he got to her and convinced her that we (me, her parents, other friends) simply didn’t like him because he was jewish and we over reacting. She married him later. She didn’t want children. He supplied all their condoms, which ‘mysteriously’ failed resulting in three children.

      • Semipermeable

        Long story short, most of the abuse is emotional/controlling in nature. The wives have strict curfews and expect the husbands to harm themselves or pets if they are broken, aren’t allowed to be alone with men, and some have been brainwashed to a scary degree. One told a friend of ours that the world might end if Obama got re-elected and that she would ‘spare her children that pain’.

        We have contacted CPS and other groups, but so far the abusers have been careful to not leave evidence. We are trying to record each event, but it is a tricky business.
        At this point all we can do is fight to stay in contact with the victims and give them unconditional support. That is very difficult to do when one of them insists that she must always obey her husband, and that means he controls her internet chats, holds their only cell phone and only car.

        My point is that in these communities, when they demand parent’s rights they are also fighting for these abusers who love any excuse to get away from independent oversight. Personally I think these advocates share some responsibility for what happens to these isolated kids.

        If the children went to public school, they would at least get the chance to have close interactions with other adults and maybe learn that this behavior is not normal. They might of had the chance to make other friends and see what a healthier home could be. Otherwise they may repeat the cycle, because what else would they think relationships look like?

        I think homeschool regulators need to keep this isolation in mind and be extra observant. It isn’t just about test scores, but making sure that the children are educated at least as well as the public school kids are and are in a good environment. How to do this is a whole other can of worms, but I think there at least needs to be something in place rather then nothing.

    • stacey

      “It is interesting to think that once these kids are adults, if the parents chose not to adequately prepare them for living in society and independence then it is society and the children that shoulder the burden.”

      Of course we ALL pay the price for uneducated people and those that could contribute, but cannot due to lack of skills. At the very least, these kids end up being less than what they could be, and the worst, they are so dysfunctional they need full support (fine by me, but they are against it.)

      I am sure they think that if their kids cannot work and take care of themselves, its OK for them to starve in the streets. Gods punishment or some nonsense.

      • Semipermeable

        Yes, it is a good point that many of these same parents seem to support disabling the welfare systems and social safety nets, but if they do not prepare their children for a modern society then they will need these very systems to have a chance of catching up.

        In the fundamentalist groups, I worry about the women especially. What happens if the fathers and husbands die? If only men are encouraged to seek marketable skills, then how can someone who has only ever been trained in house- management turn around and support the 4+ children they are encouraged to have? I know many of them are intelligent and could eventually make their way, but the culture seems just makes it so much harder for them.

        God will provide seems to be an assumption that many people have starved on in history.

      • DesertLady48

        Great comment. My mother was widowed at age 29 with 3 children under age 7. From a very early age, I knew I wanted to be able to support myself because I didn’t want to find myself in this situation. Thankfully, my mom received Social Security so we grew up fine. So when people talk about removing the social safety net, I get wrapped around the axel.

      • Jayn

        I don’t think the possibility even crosses their minds, to be honest. Some combination of “God will provide”, blaming “the world” for not recognising their children’s inherent goodness, and enough ego to think that there’s no way they might not be giving their children a good enough education (either because they know ‘the truth’ and thus can’t possibly fail in this endeavour, or because they don’t think education is important anyhow), probably fills that space in their heads.

      • Trollface McGee

        Part of me thinks that all the “homeschoolers do great” propaganda might have convinced some that just homeschooling is going to give them obedient, educated children who will be outpacing heathen public schoolers by miles and miles. Also, if you’ve been homeschooled or brainwashed into thinking that public schools teach nothing but gay orgies and evil communist tolerance, you might think yourself up to the task. Either way, the lack of oversight and regulations and pre-screening does nothing to warn parents about how labour intensive effective homeschooling is.

      • Japooh

        Anyone insisting that no oversight should be allowed (much less required) are either deep in denial about, or perhaps oblivious to, the opportunity for abuse this legislation would create.

        I find it highly unlikely that those who DO recognize that potential and still advocate for it, are all that concerned about the labor involved, as effectively educating their children is not the goal. Conditioned obedience is, and this is a fine way to get there.

  • Mario Strada

    Great read. Thank you.

  • cspatrick

    A tragedy in our community – a couple who used marijuana occasionally had their 2-year-old daughter taken away from them by CPS for “neglectful suprevision” because of the marijuana use, even though it appears the use was limited to times after the child was in bed. The child was placed into foster care. She was murdered a couple of weeks ago by her foster mother.

    • smrnda

      I read that and it’s absolutely disgusting. I’m hoping someone is brought to justice on that.

      All said, the “war on drugs” has always just been a war on families.

      We also need to accept that drugs can be used responsibly.

    • Olive Markus

      That is one of the most horrible things I’ve ever heard!!!

      Alcoholic parents rarely have children taken away, alcohol drinkers, never, obviously. Abused children are rarely taken away (from what I’ve seen, don’t know statistically). But yet, you smoke a little pot, get a little extra smiley, and your child gets taken away??!!

      Fucking unforgivable!

    • gimpi1

      Cspatrick, can we get a link on that? I hadn’t heard about it, and would like to follow up.

  • belgianchic

    Anti-choice hypocrisy at its finest. Or worst.

  • Rilian Sharp

    “It’s only before birth that she wants the government to step in and tell women what they can and can’t do with what she views as their children. Before birth? All the rights in the world. ”

    I don’t think the government stepping in is the same thing as the baby having rights. Rights are about getting what *you* want. But when the government steps in regarding children, they’re not concerned about what the child wants, they’re concerned about making the child do such and such, or doing such and such to the child. It’s the parents saying “We want to do X to the child,” and the government saying, “No, you have to do Y to the child,” and what the child wants or thinks or feels doesn’t factor in at all. When it’s in the womb, it’s not even *possible* for it to be about the baby’s rights because you have no way of knowing what they want.

    • Divizna

      It’s not about what the children want or think. It’s about what they NEED.

    • NeaDods

      Rights are about getting what you need as a viable society; the rest is up to you. Some rights will not affect you but are there for the society – as a single person, neither hetero nor homosexual marriage impact me, but society needs them both for all citizens to be equal.

      What any one person, individually, wants is beside the point, actually. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow, but the responsibility for that decision is on my head alone; it is my right to decide for myself. If I deliberately prevented someone else from going to work, then I have infringed in their rights to go about their business.

    • Japooh

      When does a child’s right to a decent education get some consideration? Children are not all that likely to WANT to be educated, but that doesn’t change the need for it to happen or their right to have a decent one.

      Teaching is a skill, and it’s not the same thing as demonstrating – some things can be taught by demonstation, but certainly not everything. My best friend is a homeschool parent (for reasons completely unrelated to religion) but is using a public program to ensure that her son gets interaction with and feedback from professional educators who are in the program as well. She could have chosen to educate him on her own, but recognized her limitations and planned for alternatives to get him the best education possible. There’s simply no way she could have managed a high school curriculum without professional teachers to help. Very few people are qualified to do so without some professional training.

  • lawrence090469

    I think Libby actually knows what’s going on here. Abortion is wrong (apart from the matter of Paul Wyerich getting the protestants in on the con) because women are the property of men. They are the property of their father until he transfers title to the husband. Born children are likewise property of the parents. Male children become people, women gain station as wives. But they are never people. And even the men submit to the lordship of their priest. The entire world, in this view is a giant dominance hierarchy with (wealthy white) men at the apex. For an excellent account of how this worldview is also the foundation of all conservatism read Corey Robin’s The Reactionary Mind.

  • Saraquill

    I look at that proposed amendment, and I think about children such as Hana Williams, Genie and Dani Lierow.

  • TLC

    “Public schools and their employees/programs are required to account and report things, and stay accountable, because they are using public dollars and are essentially employees to public money.”

    The horrible grammar and construction of this sentence is enough to make me shudder at the thought of the kind of education her children are receiving.

    “Parents using their own dollars to educate their children (who, let’s remember, they’re entitled to execute in utero should they so choose!) don’t owe accountability to the state or anyone else.”

    Nope. Sorry. You lose on this one. This extremely ignorant and naive statement assumes that these children will never touch anyone else’s lives except those in their tightly closed inner circle. I doubt this will be true. Some of those children, and their children, will be loosed into the world. They need to have a proper education so they can support themselves and their families, become productive citizens, and be useful human beings. They will have to pay taxes on their income and assets. These tax dollars will be used to pay the government employees who serve them, maintain the roads and bridges they drive on, etc.

    So yes, they need to be held accountable because what they do affects the rest of us. And if they raise poorly educated children who can’t make a living, we’ll end up paying for them.

    • smrnda

      You can be convicted of animal cruelty for abusing an animal that you own, so ownership and self-funding never implies a right to no oversight over anything.

      • Japooh

        This is an excellent pint, and one I hadn’t thought of. I’m planning on using it for future discussions, so thank you!

  • stacey

    I have seriously HAD IT with the forced birthers that claim to be “pro life”, but try to dismantle every possible program that might help living children, from SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF, to things like education and housing assistance. Hell, they even oppose living wage laws, that would allow the breadwinner to afford their kids without assistance. They also refuse to do the things to help moms keep pregnancies they would want, if they weren’t overburdened and poor (maternity leave, etc). Forget about their opposition to BC and sex ed….

    We MUST fight them. They are destroying the safety net for all of us, which is insane in this age of globalization. Its not as if there are good jobs for all that want them!

    They live in la-la land. Its like they really think that if there was no BC or abortion, the world would suddenly become perfect and there would be no premarital sex or unwanted pregnancies. All women would become SAHMs that submit to their med, or give their babies up to good xtian homes via adoption. They think everyone else deserves to starve in the street, for being a slut of course.
    They are SICK. And delusional.

    We ALL know it is NOT about the baby. It IS about controlling women. They want us in the kitchen, disenfranchised, helpless, and pregnant. And if our man cannot afford to feed us, too damn bad, whore.

    I am sick to death of them. ALL of them.

    • Semipermeable

      Agreed, I share the rage.

  • indorri

    “Parent’s rights” has become such a poisoned word for me because I’ve never seen it used outside the context of “I can do whatever I want with my kids, and screw you for thinking otherwise”.

  • Rob F

    There is no doubt in my mind that many of the people who scream “parental rights” would have no problem violating the parental rights of groups they dislike, like LGBT parents. (Conjuncting that view with opposition to abortion leads to absurdities. Surely, if abortion is killing someone, being raised by a same-sex couple couldn’t possibly be worse, right?)

    • Hilary

      (hits like over and over)

    • Trollface McGee

      Easy, gay marriage leads to abortion. (insert paragraph referencing sin, soy milk, Obama, feminists and Fidel Castro for the reasoning)

  • DesertLady48

    “I’m really sick of people claiming to care oh so much about little “babies” murdering during abortion, and not giving a shit about actual born children”. Thanks for putting this into words. It drives me nuts to hear people talk this way – and they care about the living breathing women either.

  • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

    Awesome one. Short and to the point.

  • Chiara

    As an european I’m always baffled when I read about homeschool and the complete lack of any supervision.

    It is know in the US that in most european countries nobody is speaking about homeschool regulation, because parents are legally required to send children to school no matter what?
    I never ever knew a thing like home school could exist before starting reading this blog and similar ones.

    I really have no idea how US could be so advanced in economics, military, ecc and being so retrograde in matters of educations.
    I come from Italy, where we have the pope on television every day in every news report, but nobody is questioning evolution in schools or pushing laws against schools.
    When I tell my friends that american can avoid sending their children to school and that half of them believes in creationism, they tell me I must be mistaken, that some things are not possible anymore.

    • gimpi1

      Sadly, Chiara, you are not mistaken. I really, really wish you were, but you’re not. Much of the South, Midwest, and Mountain West is deep into crazy-time. And don’t even get me started on Texas.

    • Conuly

      I believe homeschooling is legal through most of Europe, actually.

    • centaurie

      ANother european here, Germany is the only EU country to forbid homeschooling. Most parents in the other countries… simply don’t bother trying to educate the kids themselves. And when they do, there’s quite substantial supervision. (varies by country, naturally)

    • Niemand

      I really have no idea how US could be so advanced in economics, military, ecc and being so retrograde in matters of educations.

      Large country with a strong economy. We buy our experts from Europe, India, and China. Also, there are a large number of extremely good schools in the US. They’re just not accessible to everyone due to a number of issues including socioeconomic status, geographical location, and willingness to participate.

  • Hina

    A lot of pro- lifers who claim fetus = baby actually believe fetus>baby. If a parent can’t be forced to donate organs or blood to save their child’s life then how can you force a woman to let a fetus use her body to survive. Donating blood actually wouldn’t really do much harm to the parent’s health or life but carrying a pregnancy to term is a risk to the woman’s life, it can be damaging physically, emotionally and even socially. Yet parents being forced to donate blood to save their child’s life isn’t acceptable yet forcing a woman to carry her pregnancy to term is totally acceptable by these pro-life(anti choice) folks.


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