- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 19, 2005

California’s parents are no longer legally in charge of teaching their children about sex and it appears they just might like it that way. A court has ruled the state, not parents, has the primary authority to educate California’s children about sex.

In acquiescence, California’s citizens have voted that parents have no legal right to know about the consequences of the sexual actions of their children. Now, when California’s parents are posed with a tough question about sex, they can tell their child, “I don’t know honey, go ask the state.”

In the court ruling that usurped parental authority, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals discovered a heretofore-nonexistent right in the U.S. Constitution that “public schools or other state actors” have primary authority to teach children about sex. The court said parents have no right to prevent a public school from providing any kind of sexual information to students.

The court did not completely divest parents of all their rights and allowed them to retain the “right to inform and advise their children” about sex. However, the court proclaimed a parent’s right does not obviate the now plenary authority of public schools to provide children with information about sex “in any forum or manner [the schools] select.”

The court’s proclamation was made in a case where parents of first-, third- and fifth-graders sued a local school district for subjecting the students to a series of questionnaires containing sexually explicit subject matter without fully informing the parents. The parents argued that if they had been fully informed they would have opted their children out of answering. Because they were not fully informed, the parents argued their fundamental right to the care, custody and upbringing of their children was violated.

The 9th Circuit, reluctantly recognized a parent indeed has that right but quickly jettisoned it in favor of a public school’s new right to provide sexual information to its students “when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so.” The court further declared parents have no right “to limit what public schools or other state actors may tell their children regarding sexual matters.”

While the 9th Circuit’s ruling may appall most of American parents, it may just reflect the desire of parents in the Golden State. Shortly after the 9th Circuit ruling, Californians rejected a ballot measure that would have required notification of parents when their minor daughters seek abortions. By rejecting the measure, Californians voluntarily renounced some of their parental rights thereby turning their minor daughters over to schools or other state actors.

Another impetus may be behind this willful abdication. The ballot measure rejection and the 9th Circuit ruling may be harbingers of the formal recognition of a new right that has taken hold in many American communities, especially in California — the right not to be inconvenienced. That putative right is best enjoyed by eschewing all personal responsibility and expecting state actors to minimize any consequences.

Thus, California’s parents, by order of the court, are no longer inconvenienced with having to teach their children about the birds and bees. Instead, the public schools and its state actors will do the job. And, when their minor daughter gets pregnant, no worries, a state actor will be there to help take care of that little problem and the parents never need know.

One thing that is certain, these outcomes reflect the moral morass that is California. The state’s parents are no longer armed with any moral certainty in teaching their children about sex. Living in the “if it feels good do it” state, they are unable to, unwilling, or ignorant of how, to direct their children. Thus, they willingly step aside and allow the state to step in.

Additionally, any person or group that teaches against the “progressive” California orthodoxy of “safe sex” is derided as a fool and out of touch with “reality.” Thus, parents and others cower at this invective and passively allow the erosion of their authority. Of course the reality of sexual conduct is never taught, only the mechanics, and the emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical consequences are never addressed. “Just strap a condom on and everything will be OK.” So when everything does not turn out OK, legislation is promoted to hide the adverse consequences. Thus, impregnated minor girls, by force of state law, do not have to tell their parents because that would reveal the empty rhetoric of the “reality” bunch.

Men, most of whom are fathers, are especially culpable. Their cowardice has led them to forsake their sacred duty to protect their daughters. Of course, this is no different than the cowardice men have displayed generally on sexual matters, especially abortion. Their easy refrain of “it’s a woman’s choice” really means “don’t bother us, ladies.” Men want free and easy sex, but when an unwanted pregnancy occurs they want nothing to do with it. So, in the name of “reproductive freedom,” men abandon women under the euphemism of “choice.”

Now, California fathers are abandoning their daughters. Is it any wonder women find it hard to trust men?

It is often said, “As goes California, so goes the rest of the country.” If that is true in this case, there goes the rest of the country.

DAVID P. MCGINLEY

McLean, Va.

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