Edward Lai Harner, Edward Harner
Andrea Harner
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November 26, 2007

Status: Term paper research

Topic: Advocating that parents have the final say in what's right for their children.

I'm looking into Christian Science refusal of medical treatment, the victory of the Amish community in being exempted from sending their children to school past eight grade, parental right to homeschool, and female circumcision.

Any brilliant thoughts are appreciated!


Take a look at writings by libertarian-anarchist Murray Rothbard. He's radical, but very very awesomely good. He talks about political theory of parent/child rights in a couple big works. Perhaps the chapter on Children and Rights from his Ethics of Liberty will help . And also take a look at his long essay Education: Free and Compulsory. Depending on whether you agree or disagree, you'll find some good ammo for your side or some good challenges to address. Good luck!

AH.com: Thanks, Mark!

Posted by: Mark at November 26, 2007 10:44 AM

What about that recent case in Portland, Maine where the school wanted to hand out birth control pills (and other contraception types) to middle school students? Originally, the plan was to let the children determine whether their parents would be informed about them being on medication. I'm not sure how it has ended, although I think the battle continues. The idea of allowing 11, 12, and 13-year-olds to make health decisions and to begin taking medication without the knowledge of their parents is absurd. What happens when the child's regular doctor, before prescribing another medicine, asks the parent if the child is taking any other medications and the parent says no?

AH.com: Thank you!!!

Posted by: CW at November 26, 2007 10:52 AM

Why just keep it at female circumcision when male circumcision has more controversy. The US law states that no medically unnecessary genital alterations may be done on a girl under 18, regardless of culture or religion, but it would be worth it to mention that still half of american boys born today get sensitive bits cut off shortly after birth on their parents' command. The American medical community has known for at least 30 years that there's no medical need for routine infant male circumcision. Instead of saying they won't do it until the boy is 18 and can consent, they defer to the parents' wishes.

There was a court case last year in Chicago where the mother who had custody wanted to circumcise her son for "health" reasons and the divorced dad sued to stop it. The judge eventually ruled that there was no medical need and the boy would choose his penis' fate after he turned 18.

This year there is an ongoing case in Oregon where a custodial dad converted to Judaism, circumcised himself, and was going to circumcise his 12 year old son when the divorced mom sued to stop it. Will the dad's argument that he has the religious right to cut his son's penis prevail, or will the mom's argument that her son needs to be safe from unnecessary surgery win?

I'm also curious to see if any circumcised boy born after the FGM law was enacted will sue for gender discrimination.

Good luck with your paper.

Posted by: Brian at November 26, 2007 11:50 AM

A long time ago, Jonah read a pair of classics that frame the two extremes of the debate about who is in charge of a child's life:

Summerhill by A.S. Neill and Walden Two by B.F Skinner .
They continue to be quite thought-provoking even today especially when read as a pair.

AH.com: Thanks Mother in Law!!

Posted by: postmodern at November 26, 2007 12:57 PM
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