URGENT Take Action – Missouri Legislature

Periodically we let you know the progress of various proposed legislation making its way through the Missouri General Assembly and suggest ways for you to contribute your viewpoint to your state Representative and state Senator.

The Missouri General Assembly is the state legislature of the State of Missouri and is composed of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The General Assembly is responsible for creating laws for governing the State of Missouri. The Revised Statutes of Missouri (RSMo) are electronically available on this site:  http://revisor.mo.gov/.

You can find your Representative and Senator, and their contact information, by entering your 9-digit zip code here.

The 2022 Regular Session (101st General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session) convened on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, and will end on Friday, May 13, 2022.

This time we’d like to further discuss two bills about which we’d like you to contact your legislators. Please write, call or visit to express from your viewpoint as an individual or professional, and not as a representative of any organization. Let us know the details and any responses you get. The full text of each bill can be found on the House and Senate Joint Bill Tracking site. Just put the bill number into the search box (e.g. SB123 or HB123).

Check out our handy discussion about How to write to a legislator.

If you are not a voting resident of Missouri, you can find out about legislation in your own state and write your own state legislators; also, we are looking for volunteers to monitor legislation in Missouri and the states surrounding Missouri — let us know if you’d like to help out.

Very Very Bad Bill

HB2342 (Sponsor: Representative Tricia Derges, Republican, District 140 – Christian county)

This bill provides for children to seek mental health counseling and treatment without parental consent, and all records and referrals are confidential from parents and guardians. The provider must immediately determine if the child is a danger to self or others.

By their own admission psychiatrists cannot predict a person’s dangerousness or violence. The popular refrain that psychiatry can determine if a person is a danger to self or others is a complete fraud.

This bill would expand harmful psychiatric services to vulnerable children. This is the gateway to sending a child to a psychiatric hospital without any parental knowledge or consent. Psychiatrists, school counselors and other mental health practitioners have a terrible track record of accurately determining if a child is a danger to self or others, and this is the criteria for determining such things as involuntary commitment.

First, this bill violates US Constitutional Rights. Amendment IX to the U.S. Constitution grant parents a constitutional right to be parents for their children. The courts have repeatedly affirmed those rights[i].

Second, it could also be argued that this bill violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which requires that parents be given notice and an opportunity to be heard prior to any deprivation of parental rights, even if they are temporary deprivations[ii]. 

[i] “[T]he interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children… is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by [the United States Supreme] Court.” Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65, 120 S.Ct. 2054, 147 L.Ed.2d 49 (2000) (plurality opinion) (citing Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166, 64 S.Ct. 438, 88 L.Ed. 645 (1944); Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35, 45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070 (1925); Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 399, 401, 43 S.Ct. 625, 67 L.Ed. 1042 (1923)). Parents have a fundamental right “to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.” Troxel, 530 U.S. at 66, 120 S.Ct. 2054 (citing Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 720, 117 S.Ct. 2258, 138 L.Ed.2d 772 (1997); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753, 102 S.Ct. 1388, 71 L.Ed.2d 599 (1982); Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584, 602, 99 S.Ct. 2493, 61 L.Ed.2d 101 (1979); Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246, 255, 98 S.Ct. 549, 54 L.Ed.2d 511 (1978); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 232, 92 S.Ct. 1526, 32 L.Ed.2d 15 (1972); Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U.S. 645, 651, 92 S.Ct. 1208, 31 L.Ed.2d 551 (1972)).

[ii] [T]he Supreme Court made clear that termination of parental rights impinges upon a liberty interest of which a citizen may not be deprived without due process of law. This circuit has applied Santosky’s holding … to the temporary seizures of children and has held that notice and a hearing are required before a child is removed “`except for extraordinary situations where some valid governmental interest is at stake that justifies postponing the hearing until after the event.'” “Valid governmental interests” include “emergency circumstances which pose an immediate threat to the safety of a child.” As the Second Circuit has noted, the “mere possibility” of danger is not enough to justify a removal without appropriate process. (emphasis added)

Roska ex rel. Roska v. Peterson, 328 F. 3d 1230, 1245 (10th Cir. 2003) (emphasis added).  Since this proposed statute allows for removal based solely on the “belief” of “substantial danger”, it is authorizing removal based on the “mere possibility” of danger and “is not enough to justify a removal without appropriate process.” Id. In other words, a parent needs the ability to appear in court prior to any deprivation of parental rights or custody.

Very Good Bill

HB1755 – Establishes Parents’ Bill of Rights (Sponsor: Representative Chuck Basye, Republican, District 47 – Boone, Randolph, Howard, Cooper counties) 

This bill prohibits the state, any of its political subdivisions, any other governmental entity, or any other institution from infringing on fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of their children.

This bill also requires school boards to implement policies that will allow parents to have more involvement in the public school system including having a voice as to what materials the children will be instructed on as well as the ability to withdraw their child from any portion of the school district’s comprehensive health education that relates to instruction in sexually transmitted diseases or any instruction regarding human sexuality if they do not want their child to participate. The school board must also implement procedures that allow parents to learn their parental responsibilities and rights.

No one but their parents should be determining the mental health care for a child.

CCHR suggests the inclusion of this simple statement in any Parents’ Bill of Rights:

“Infringement of parental rights. — The state, any of its political subdivisions, any other governmental entity, or any other institution may not infringe on the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of his or her minor child without demonstrating that such action is reasonable and necessary to achieve a compelling state interest and that such action is narrowly tailored and is not otherwise served by a less restrictive means.”

This one paragraph does two things 1) mental health is specifically included and 2) it requires that any potential infringement on parental rights is reviewed using strict scrutiny. Strict scrutiny is a form of judicial review that courts use to determine the constitutionality of certain laws. This is basically the highest form of review that exists and the greatest protection.

Forced Psychiatry is Legislated Violence
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