The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee heard HB 1407 on parental rights authored by Rep. DeVon and Rep. Jeter. The bill would do the following:
- Provides the state of Indiana, a political subdivision or other governmental entity of the state of Indiana, a government official, or any other person acting under the color of law shall not infringe on the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of the parent’s child without demonstrating that the infringement: (1) is required by a compelling governmental interest of the highest order as long recognized in the history and traditions of the state of Indiana; and (2) as applied to the child, is narrowly tailored and not otherwise served by a less restrictive means.
- Creates a right of action for violation of a parent’s rights with respect to the upbringing, education, and health care of the parent’s child.
- Provides that a child is not a child in need of services due to the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian: (1) referring to and raising the child consistent with the child’s biological sex; or (2) declining to consent to the child receiving: (A) specified medication; (B) a medical procedure the purpose of which is to alter the apparent gender or sex of the child or affirm the child’s perception of the child’s gender or sex in a manner inconsistent with the child’s biological sex; or (C) counseling or other mental health services the purpose of which is to affirm the child’s perception of the child’s gender or sex if the child’s perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex.
- Provides that a juvenile court may not enter a dispositional decree ordering removal of a child from the home of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian if: (1) the juvenile court has found the child to be a child in need of services under a specified statutory definition of a child in need of services; and (2) the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child: (A) is a fit parent, guardian, or custodian of the child; and (B) does not consent to the child being removed from the child’s home.
The Committee voted 11-0 to adopt amendment #2 which provides that if the juvenile court finds that a child is a child in need of services because the child substantially endangers the child’s own or another’s health, the court shall release the child to the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian and may not enter a dispositional decree ordering removal of the child, unless: (1) the court also finds that the child is a child in need of services for another reason; or (2) the parent, guardian, or custodian consents to the child being removed from the child’s home.
The Committee adopted amendment #3 by consent which specifies that the parental rights and responsibilities do not: (1) authorize a parent to: (A) abuse or neglect a child; or (B) make the decision to end the child’s life; or (2) prohibit a court from issuing an order that is otherwise permitted by law and adds a cross reference in the definition of “child abuse or neglect” to apply to parental rights and responsibilities.
The following testified in support of the bill: Alliance Defending Freedom, American Family Association of Indiana, and a parent and the parent’s attorney. The Indiana State Teachers Association testified in opposition to the bill. The amended bill passed 9-4.
Read the bill at: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2023/bills/house/1407