Thursday, June 09, 2005

New Hampshire's War on parental rights

Dear Friends,

Rev. Marc Montminy, the pastor of Sainte Marie's Parish in Manchester, New Hampshire, spoke to parishioners regarding a bill which was passed by the NH House on May 25th by a vote of 195-169. This bill would allow over-the-counter dispensing of "emergency contraception" (also known as the morning-after pill) and which is a high dosage of the birth control pill, to underage females without parental notification.

Fr. Montminy is also distributing a flyer at weekend Masses which explains to parishioners that the morning-after pill " recommended to be used after sexual intercourse, over a period of 72 hours, to achieve the goal of preventing (or ending) pregnancy depending on the stage of the woman's menstrual cycle. There are three different ways birth control pills are currently being promoted for this use: progesterone alone, estrogen alone, or both of these artificial steroids together. These are the same steroids found in the typical birth control pill."

In the words of this flyer, while "schools cannot dispense an aspirin without parental consent" the Governor of New Hampshire "is ready to sign a bill allowing underage children easy access to an abortive drug without parental notification."

Rev. Montminy has called upon his parishioners to take action and to contact Governor John Lynch. This because he takes his responsibility as a pastor seriously. I would invite readers of this website to also respond to Fr. Montminy's call to action by contacting Governor John Lynch at his office: (603) 271-2121.

Vatican II teaches us that, in raising children, the responsibility of parents is primary: "Since parents have given life to their children, they have a very grave duty to educate them, and so are to be recognized as their primary and principal educators" (GE, No. 3). And Pope John Paul II, explaining the conciliar teaching more fully in Familiaris consortio, No. 36, says that: "The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others."

Canon Law is also very clear on this matter. Canon 793, 1., states that: "Parents as well as those who take their place are obliged and enjoy the right to educate their offspring; Catholic parents also have the duty and the right to select those means and institutions through which they can provide more suitably for the Catholic education of the children according to local circumstances." And Canon 1136 says that: "Parents have the most serious duty and the primary right to do all in their power to see to the physical, social, cultural, moral and religious upbringing of their children."

This inalienable right of parents has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court. In 1922, the State of Oregon attempted to enact legislation which would have forced all children to attend the public schools within that state. But the Supreme Court overturned that legislation and established that "The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations."

Should Governor Lynch sign the bill already passed by the New Hampshire House, in effect he will be saying that "The child is the mere creature of the state" and that the rights of parents, recognized by Holy Mother Church and the United States Supreme Court, are of no consequence.

Let's take up Fr. Montminy's call and protest this arrogance and usurpation of parental rights.

Paul Anthony Melanson

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