Preserving Parental Rights, a Cornerstone of a Healthy Society

By Brad Dacus, Esq., President and Founder of Pacific Justice Institute

In Austin, Texas, a significant legal battle is unfolding that encapsulates a crucial debate over parental rights and the protection of children. The case, Loe v. State of Texas, is now before the Texas Supreme Court, with Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) staunchly supporting Senate Bill 14. This bill, which prohibits gender-changing procedures for minors, is at the heart of the controversy.

PJI is arguing in a filed amicus brief that the bill is a justified measure to protect children while still respecting the fundamental rights of parents. Their legal stance emphasizes that there is a clear and compelling state interest in safeguarding children from significant harm.

Parental rights are a cornerstone of societal structure. The significance of this principle cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to irreversible medical procedures that can result in adverse health effects — mentally, emotionally, and physically. The evidence of permanent harm experienced by some youth who undergo gender-changing procedures is a sobering reminder of why these decisions must not be taken lightly and why parental guidance is essential.

The Supreme Court of the United States has long recognized the importance of parental rights. In 2000, the Court declared that “the liberty interest…of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by [the] Court” (Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), at 65). Actually, this right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children predates the Court itself. It is a right that was already understood and acknowledged long before the United States came to be and be found throughout the readings of ancient texts such as the Bible.

In fact, half a century ago in 1972 the Court also declared: “The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition” (Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), at 232).

Supporting this long-standing principle, a report by the Heritage Foundation found that by 2020, states that permit minors to access gender-changing procedures without parental consent saw a 14% increase in suicide rates among young people compared to states without such provisions. The increased availability of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors has, in fact, worsened suicide rates.

Texas SB 14 represents a necessary legal measure to ensure that life-altering medical procedures are approached with the utmost caution and parental involvement. Upholding this bill is not only a matter of legal integrity but also of moral responsibility. By affirming SB 14, the Texas Supreme Court can ensure that the rights of parents are respected while ensuring the protection of children now and for future generations.