On February 28, Representative Eddie Andrews introduced House File 486, an act Relating to Fundamental Parental Rights. The bill guarantees the right of parents “to direct the upbringing, rearing, associations, care, education, custody, and control of a parent’s child” and further requires that any “state action infringing on or interfering with this fundamental right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
The key thing to know about this bill is that it does not create any new rights for parents, so that should take the pressure off legislators. All seven of these rights have been declared fundamental rights of parents by Iowa high courts and are existing case law. This bill merely encodes the existing judicial case law so that it cannot be changed at the whim of a single judge, but only by an act of the 150 representatives of the people, the Iowa Legislature.
This is a terrific bill that will require that parental rights be treated as the fundamental constitutional rights that they are, as recognized by Iowa high court rulings and by the U.S. Supreme Court in a consistent string of cases dating back 100 years to Meyer v. Nebraska (1923).
Upon its introduction this morning, HF 486 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. In order to be considered by the entire House, it needs to pass through subcommittee and committee this week! So please write the members of the House Judiciary Committee ASAP and ask them to support this bill. If your representative is on the Judiciary Committee, be sure to mention that you are their constituent, and where you live.
Once it passes out of committee, we will send another letter to you with updates for getting support to pass the full House.
Your message, which should be in your own words, can be as simple as this:
I am calling/emailing to ask you to support HF 486 — Fundamental Parental Rights. The vital role of a parent in the life of a child must be protected legislatively, not just in court case law, where it is more vulnerable to changes by a single judge’s ruling. Please support this bill to encode these rights in the Iowa Code, where laws belong.
Here are the members of the House Judiciary Committee with their email addresses:
- Steven Holt (R, District 12), Chair
- Bill Gustoff (R, District 40), Vice Chair
- Ross Wilburn (D, District 50), Ranking Member
- Taylor R. Collins (R, District 95)
- Jon Dunwell (R, District 38)
- Stanley R. Gustafson (R, District 22)
- Lindsay James (D, District 71)
- Megan Jones (R, District 6)
- Bobby Kaufmann (R, District 82)
- Brian K. Lohse (R, District 45)
- Ann Meyer (R, District 8)
- Brian Meyer (D, District 29)
- Carter F. Nordman (R, District 47)
- Rick L. Olson (D, District 39)
- Sami Scheetz (D, District 78)
- Megan L. Srinivas (D, District 30)
- Henry Stone (R, District 9)
- Phil Thompson (R, District 48)
- Charley Thomson (R, District 58)
- Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (D, District 49)
- Skyler Wheeler (R, District 4)
Thank you for standing with us to protect children by empowering parents through common sense legislation like HF 486 in the Iowa House.