Missouri measure would enshrine parental rights

Thursday, March 20, 2014 | 7:43 a.m. CDT; updated 10:29 a.m. CDT, Thursday, March 20, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY — A proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would enshrine a fundamental right for parents to raise their children as they see fit is pending in the state Senate.

The House passed the measure 112-36 on March 13 before the legislature began a weeklong break. The amendment states that parents have a right to make decisions involving the discipline, education, religious instruction, medical care, housing and "general well-being" of their children.

Supporters say parents should have constitutional protections when it comes to raising children.

If it passes the Senate, the proposed constitutional amendment would go on the November statewide ballot. It is sponsored by Republican Rep. Todd Richardson, of Poplar Bluff.

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Kevin Gamble March 20, 2014 | 2:57 p.m.

A disturbing aspect of bills like these is that they attempt to protect and sanction child abuse. Which is what the world of clinical psychology unanimously agrees that spanking and other forms of corporal punishment is.

This is, at the least, a misguided effort by our legislature, especially after the public rejection of a spanking-protection bill recently attempted in Kansas (

Bills like this pander at best, and sanction abuse at worst. The timing of this bill looks like little more than playing politics in an election year. This bill should not be supported.

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