Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Parental Control and Teenage Rights

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

Parental Control and Teenage Rights

Article excerpt

Over the winter, two intermediate appellate courts handed down decisions that increase parental involvement in teenage reproductive decisionmaking. In New York, a state appellate court struck down a New York City Board of Education program to distribute condoms to high school students without parental involvement (Alfonso v. Fernandez, 30 December 1993). In Pennsylvania, a federal appeals court lifted an injunction against an act mandating parental consent to minors' abortions (Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 14 January 1994).

In 1990 former New York City Board of Education Chancellor Joseph Fernandez proposed supplementing classroom instruction on HIV and AIDS by making condoms available to high school students anonymously and upon request. In 1991 the board of education approved his plan, considering and rejecting a parental opt-out provision that would necessarily abolish student anonymity. The board found that the plan would be undermined if students were forced to identify themselves before receiving condoms.

A few parents challenged the condom program in court, arguing it violated their constitutional right to raise their children in accordance with their own values and generally free from state interference. Although a trial court dismissed the suit, the appellate court reversed, finding the plan ran afoul of parental rights "to regulate their children's sexual behavior as best they can." Relying heavily on the compulsory nature of school attendance, the court ruled the plan amounted to a "state compulsion on parents to send their children into an environment where they had unrestricted access to free contraceptives. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.