• Child Protective Services orders cops to seize little boy after couple seeks second opinion on medical condition
By Keith Johnson
In modern-day America, parental rights are being systematically compromised by domineering government bureaucrats who believe they alone have the authority to determine what’s best for the health and welfare of a child. Alex and Anna Nikolayev of Sacramento, California, recently learned this the hard way after their five-month-old son Sammy was abducted by police and Child Protective Services (CPS) simply because the couple wanted to get a second opinion on their baby’s medical condition, a heart murmur.
The Nikolayevs’ troubles began when they took their son to a local hospital to be examined for flu symptoms. The parents became distressed when staff administered antibiotics that could have complicated the boy’s pre-existing heart condition.
After a few days in the hospital’s pediatric unit, doctors recommended Sammy undergo heart surgery. But, citing the earlier error on the part of hospital staff, the couple declined.
“We got the one mistake after another, [and] I don’t want to have my baby have surgery in the hospital where I don’t feel he is safe,” Mrs. Nikolayev told a local news station.
While the Nikolayevs sought a second opinion from other hospitals, police visited their home on two occasions, demanding the couple surrender their child. Although the first visit endedwith police leaving without incident, the second turned ugly.
“I was pushed against the building, smacked down,” Mr. Nikolayev told California’s local News-10. “I said, ‘Am I being placed under arrest?’ He smacked me down onto the ground [and] yelled out, ‘I think I got the keys to the house.’”
Fortunately, the Nikolayevs had had the foresight to put up a video camera to record any encounter with police. In footage released to local news outlets, one police officer can be heard telling the couple, “I’m going to grab your baby—and don’t resist and don’t fight me, OK?”
Incidents like this are nothing new and occurring with greater frequency. How did it come to this? And is there any way to make things right?
PARENTAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT SOUGHT
This newspaper recently spoke with Michael Ramey, director of communications and research for ParentalRights.org, a political organization working to pass a Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution. The organization represented Michigan parents in a story covered here.
When asked why government agencies are becoming more brazen in their abuse of family rights, Ramey replied: “Traditionally the Supreme Court has upheld the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children dating back to 1923. But in the year 2000, in a case called Troxel v. Granville, they maintained the language of fundamental parental rights but removed the high legal standard the state has to reach before [they’re] allowed to make the decision for the child. Prior to that case, the legal presumption was that parents acted in the best interests of their child. And if you were acting on behalf of the state, you needed to establish that the parent is unfit, negligent or abusive before the court could make a decision.”
The proposed Parental Rights Amendment that Ramey’s organization is behind seeks to restore the high legal standard government had to reach prior to Troxel. According to sections I and II of the amendment: “The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children is a fundamental right. . . . Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.”
But Ramey is not just addressing the power of states and the federal government.
“We’re also very concerned about the use of international law in American courts,” said Ramey. “There are a couple of UN treaties that are contrary to U.S. sovereignty and our system of governance. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities both establish the legal standard that our nation would be required to hold. The presumption that a parent acts in the best interests of the child would no longer suffice. The government would be obligated by the treaty to make sure that every action is made in the best interests of the child, making them responsible for child-rearing decisions, rather than the parents.”
Ramey said the Rights of People with Disabilities treaty went before the Senate in September but was narrowly defeated.
“If that were to pass, the state would ultimately have the authority to decide on a child’s upbringing,” he said. “Our concern is twofold: Not only that the federal government would be making decisions instead of parents, but also because a ratified treaty has been held by the Supreme Court as superior to any state law. That means the federal government would oversee all of the family rights and childrearing issues that are currently under the jurisdiction of the individual states.”
According to Ramey, the proposed Parental Rights Amendment had 140 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives when it went before the 111th Congress. “In the 112th Congress, we didn’t have as many sponsors because it was very late, but we were granted a hearing last summer by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution” he said. “We’re hoping to repeat our success in getting a large number of co-sponsors and really get it moving forward in the months ahead.”
Keith Johnson in an investigative journalist and host of the Revolt of the Plebs radio program.