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Relating to the rights and duties of parents and the protection of parental rights in suits affecting the parent-child relationship.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1178 would create a presumption in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship that a parent is a fit parent who acts in the best interest of their child. The bill would stipulate that the fundamental right of a parent to raise their child includes the right to direct and make decisions for the child's care, custody, control, education, upbringing, moral and religious training, and medical care. In a suit between a parent and nonparent, the bill would prohibit a court from granting relief that conflicts with a parent's decisions or proposed decisions for the child unless the court makes certain findings.
SB 1178 would not be construed to limit the rights of the state to investigate or act on a report of child abuse or neglect.
Texas Action supports SB 1178 because it would promote individual liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government. Parents should be free to raise their children as they see fit, including making normal decisions over their upbringing and care, unless the state has a compelling reason to intervene based on actual abuse or neglect. In a sense, this bill affirms the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Parents should be able to raise their children without having to look over their shoulder to see if someone is going to take away their child because of their religious upbringing, education choices, or other normal decisions that historically belong squarely within the domain of parenthood. SB 1178’s provisions would protect the liberty of parents from excessive government action in all child-related proceedings in the state.