INTRODUCING THE PARENTAL CONSENT ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 157, No. 119
(Extensions of Remarks - August 01, 2011)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1476-E1477]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                             HON. RON PAUL

                                of texas

                    in the house of representatives

                         Monday, August 1, 2011

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Parental Consent Act. 
This bill forbids federal funds from being used for any universal or 
mandatory mental-health screening of students without the express, 
written, voluntary, informed consent of their parents or legal 
guardians. This bill protects the fundamental right of parents to 
direct and control the upbringing and education of their children.
  The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health has recommended that the 
federal and state governments work toward the implementation of a 
comprehensive system of mental-health screening for all Americans. The 
commission recommends that universal or mandatory mental-health 
screening first be implemented in public schools as a prelude to 
expanding it to the general public. However, neither the commission's 
report nor any related mental-health screening proposal requires 
parental consent before a child is subjected to mental-health 
screening. Federally-funded universal or mandatory mental-health 
screening in schools without parental consent could lead to labeling 
more children as ``ADD'' or ``hyperactive'' and thus force more 
children to take psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, against their 
parents' wishes.
  Already, too many children are suffering from being prescribed 
psychotropic drugs for nothing more than children's typical 
rambunctious behavior. According to the article ``Better but Not Best: 
Recent Trends in the Well-Bering of The Mentally Ill'' (Health Affairs, 
May/June 2009) in 2006 more than one in 20 children were prescribed 
medications for mental-health conditions!

[[Page E1477]]

  Many children have suffered harmful side effects from using 
psychotropic drugs. Some of the possible side effects include mania, 
violence, dependence, and weight gain. Yet, parents are already being 
threatened with child abuse charges if they resist efforts to drug 
their children. Imagine how much easier it will be to drug children 
against their parents' wishes if a federally-funded mental-health 
screener makes the recommendation.
  Universal or mandatory mental-health screening could also provide a 
justification for stigmatizing children from families that support 
traditional values. Even the authors of mental-health diagnosis manuals 
admit that mental-health diagnoses are subjective and based on social 
constructions. Therefore, it is all too easy for a psychiatrist to 
label a person's disagreement with the psychiatrist's political beliefs 
a mental disorder. For example, a federally-funded school violence 
prevention program lists ``intolerance'' as a mental problem that may 
lead to school violence. Because ``intolerance'' is often a code word 
for believing in traditional values, children who share their parents' 
values could be labeled as having mental problems and a risk of causing 
violence. If the mandatory mental-health screening program applies to 
adults, everyone who believes in traditional values could have his or 
her beliefs stigmatized as a sign of a mental disorder. Taxpayer 
dollars should not support programs that may label those who adhere to 
traditional values as having a ``mental disorder.''
  Mr. Speaker, universal or mandatory mental-health screening threatens 
to undermine parents' right to raise their children as the parents see 
fit. Forced mental-health screening could also endanger the health of 
children by leading to more children being improperly placed on 
psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, or stigmatized as ``mentally ill'' 
or a risk of causing violence because they adhere to traditional 
values. Congress has a responsibility to the nation's parents and 
children to stop this from happening. I, therefore, urge my colleagues 
to cosponsor the Parental Consent Act.