Our Lady of Soccorso
THE GOVERNMENT AS THIRD PARENT
February 28th 2007 @ 11:49 pm

There are a number of bills in the state legislature that presume to seize control of the family or certain members of the family. The ability of families and/or parents to be self directed is in danger of becoming a thing of the past.

AB 755, Corporal Punishment by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber. This bill amends the state Penal Code, section 273a, changing and expanding the definition from “great bodily harm or mental suffering” of a child under the pretext of discipline, to one of very specific types of injuries as a sign of willfully intended harm. It would also require the accused to prove themselves innocent of the charges. In other words, if a child is found to exhibit any signs of this specifically defined injuries the accused is automatically presumed to be guilty.

The punishment for a finding of guilt is increased from a misdemeanor and assignment to parenting classes for up to 48 months, to a possibility of one year in jail, or 2, 4 or 6 years in a state prison.

Secondarily, it is determined to be a misdemeanor if the (presumed) abuse is determined to, in general, cause the child to suffer, or experience physical pain or mental suffering of the person or health. This would seem to be a subjective determination very hard to prove or disprove. What child wouldn’t say that the spanking hurt, or that he/she felt badly after being spanked or denied some object or pleasure by a parent?

While the public continues to be horrified to hear of children who die in foster care or are severely injured by parents and/or a parent’s boyfriend, there are several things about which to be concerned in this bill:

1. The bill speaks of “Rebuttable Presumption” of guilt. One might be surprised to learn that there are times under the law when a person is presumed to be guilty until proven innocent. This is called “rebuttable presumption.” It is now going to be used against parents and/or guardians.

Sec. 606 of the Evidence Code:

The effect of a presumption affecting the burden of proof is to impose upon the party against whom it operates the burden of proof as to the nonexistence of the presumed fact.”

2. The minimum age of the child in danger of abuse is extended to infants and those under age 3 on up to age 18.

AB 81 by Albert Terrace, Safe Havens, changes from 72 hours to 30 days the time frame in which an infant may be surrendered by its mother to a designated center anonymously. (His office secretary answered the phone in Spanish).

The new language would require some information gathering (unlike the current bill (Evidence code 271a). Danger to the newborn’s health and safety increases possibly with every day a parent keeps the baby. This will not protect the newborn who’s mother is fearful of discovery of the pregnancy or of identity. This is the last refuge of anonymous adoption. What will happen to the surrendering mother here if a receiver, also a mandated reporter of abuse, thinks that the child might have been abused or injured in some manner during those 30 days? Will the mother be apprehended or will she be allowed to get off scot free because she’s got this 30 day safety protection?

3. The very generalized definition of mental suffering could cause many perfectly good parents to be charged with abuse. This could trigger spite reporting by disgruntled neighbors or coworkers.

SB 288, Leland Yee, Pupils, Comprehensive Learning Support System, will authorize educators to become judges of a child’s mental health. Teachers are mandated reporters of suspected (not proven) child abuse, including mental suffering, maybe obesity, dental decay, poor eyesight uncorrected by glasses, etc.

Will the parents of these children be charged as abusers and subject to criminal penalties?

What about if AB 16, HPV vaccinations gets passed? Will parents who refuse to get their child vaccinated be considered to cause a health endangerment?

The original author of this bill, AB 16, Sally Lieber, withdrew her name when it was determined that her family had an interest in the Merck Pharmaceutical company manufacturing Gardasil, the HPV virus vaccine.

The new author is now newly elected Assemblyman Edward Hernandez of Southern California. This bill will have it’s first hearing on 3/13/07 in the Assembly Health Committee. chaired by Mervyn Dymally, long time entrenched bureaucrat and author of several health care bills including the universal (and automatic) coverage of children in Healthy Families programs. What happens to parents in this case if they protest the placement of their child in a government mandated health care program without their consent?

AB 14, John Laird, Discrimination, the Unruh Civil Rights Act of 2007 will declare an expanded area of so-called rights which if denied will place the denier in a position of exposure to civil rights law suits. Will be heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 3/20/07. Sally Lieber is one of several co-authors of this bill.

No bill is an island unto itself. Most seem to represent pieces of a whole which like the earthworm when dissected into several pieces will continue to grow.

I would also call your attention that 28 States have banned corporal punishment in schools, but the United States is the lone holdout in the UN from signing the Rights of the Child Treaty. That Treaty says:

Article 19:

"States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and education measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programs to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement."

It’s quite possible that Ms Lieber’s intention in AB 755 is to establish this UN Treaty wording as the law in our state.

-Camille
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Take away God, all respect for civil laws, all regard for even the most necessary institutions disappears; justice is scouted; the very liberty that belongs to the law of nature is trodden underfoot; and men go so far as to destroy the very structure of the family, which is the first and firmest foundation of the social structure.
- St. Pius X, Jucunda Sane, March 12, 1904