Friday, January 19, 2007

Silly no-spanking law proposed

Here is a good Si Valley letter to the editor:
Bill would usurp parental rights

Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, pet guardian and mother of none, is proudly pushing legislation to dictate to the millions of Californians who are parents just how they should discipline their children (Page 1A, Jan. 18). She cites the source of her inspiration as a chat with one friend who pointed out that more than 10 European countries already ban the spanking of children.

Ironically, these same nations are making news for their alarming decline in birth rates. Perhaps potential parents are discouraged by the prospect of spending 18 or so years living in a home run by a child wielding the power of law enforcement to avoid being disciplined. Lieber deserves to be spanked by her constituents for proposing this bureaucratic usurpation of parents' rights and responsibilities.

Bob Nystrom
Mountain View
He has an interesting testable hypothesis here. I wonder whether laws undermining parental authority are correlated with declining birth rates.

The paper's lead Page 1 story for the last two days has been about a new mother leaving the hospital with her baby:
A day after a San Jose mother slipped away from Valley Medical Center with her newborn, employees probed how the woman eluded security guards, especially since sensors in her baby's hospital bracelet triggered an alarm.

The incident sparked a frantic five-hour search for Karla Lugo, 24, and her infant daughter before Lugo returned to the hospital voluntarily after sheriff's deputies found her at a friend's house. The baby was in good condition at the hospital Thursday, but she is in Child Protective Services custody as authorities investigate whether Lugo broke the law. ...

VMC spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said Lugo had every right to leave, even though her daughter's test results triggered a call to Child Protective Services. Lugo knew authorities had been called, but there was no court order restricting her custody of the girl, born by caesarean section Tuesday. ...

The case at Valley Medical Center also was unusual, Kemp pointed out, because the mother left with her own baby. ``And people leave `A.M.A.,' or against medical advice, all the time,'' she said.
This is weird. The woman was not in jail. She was within her rights to leave at any time. Sure, the hospital would have preferred that she check-out in the usual way, but she does not have to do that.

I have left a hospital against medical advice myself. I have even gotten conflicting medical advice, meaning that my actions would be against medical advice no matter what I did. No law requires people to obey medical advice.

Perhaps the same sort of nanny-state zealots who push anti-spanking laws will soon push to outlaw acting against medical advice.

George writes:
You act as if the mother left innocently, or because of a legitimate medical belief. But she appears to have left because because a hospital bureaucrat had turned her into Child Protective Services, and she was trying to avoid an accusation that might result in the police taking her kids away.
She is innocent until proven guilty. They have already taken her kids away, because they don't like her attitude I guess, but she ought to be entitled to a presumption of innocense. If she has committed some crime, they can indict her, try her, and convict her, just like any other criminal. As long as she has not been arrested or charged or anything, she is not required to wait around for whatever accusations might arise.

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