UPDATE: Gov. Fallin signed House Bill 1384, which will go into effect on Nov. 1.
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Senate has unanimously approved a measure aimed at giving parents the final say on how best to raise their children.
House Bill 1384, by Sen. AJ Griffin and Rep. Sally Kern, is known as the “Parents Bill of Rights.”
It allows parents to have the right to make final decisions about their children’s education, religious training and medical and mental health care.
The authors said a recent case in Boston is an example of the government trying to override parents’ decisions.
15-year-old Justina Pelletier was taken forcibly from her parents after they took her to Boston Children’s Hospital.
However, her family says she had been diagnosed with a physical disease, which causes muscle pain and weakness.
“There’s no justification for that,” Rep. Kern said. “We want to make sure in Oklahoma that something like that never happens and that parents are the ones who have the fundamental right in the upbringing of their children.”
“There’s going to need to be a balance,” said, Dr. Melissa Rich, a marriage and family therapist, said. “Parents need to behave responsibly but there’s always those parents who don’t.”
Kern said HB 1384 does not allow parents to do anything that is illegal or harmful to a child.
Earlier this year, Herbert and Catherine Schaible were sent to jail in Pennsylvania for causing the death of their 8-month-old son last year from pneumonia.
The parents refused to treat their children with medicine because they believed in faith healing and medicine violates their religious beliefs.
He was the couple’s second child to die from pneumonia.
Kern said the “Parents Bill of Rights” would not allow parents to refuse medical treatment for their children similar to the Schaible case.
The House has until April 24 to approve amendments to the bill.
If approved, the bill will go to the governor’s desk.