SCOTUS Abortion Decision Shows Disregard for Children’s Human Rights

For Immediate Release: Group run by homeschool alumni voices support for abortion rights

05/31/2022—Earlier this month, Politico reported on a leaked document indicating that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) intends to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision protecting pregnant people’s right to abortion.

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), the nation’s only nonpartisan advocacy organization founded and run by homeschool alumni to advocate for homeschooled children, affirms our support for bodily autonomy and medical privacy, and condemns SCOTUS’s efforts to deny these rights to millions of Americans.

Striking down Roe v. Wade will have numerous devastating impacts on children and families. Without access to abortion, minors who become pregnant—including homeschooled victims of sexual abuse—will be forced into premature parenthood. No matter how traumatic their situation may be, these minors will have no choice but to endure the significant physical and mental toll of pregnancy and have their futures irrevocably altered.

Restricting abortion will also place countless children at an elevated risk for abuse and neglect. All children deserve to be wanted, and forcing people to give birth will force children into households where they will not receive the love and care they need. Unwanted pregnancy is a known risk factor for child maltreatment, which coincides with homeschooling to an alarming degree.

Furthermore, adoption is not a suitable alternative for abortion. Adoption requires people to remain pregnant against their wishes and be subjected to the physical and mental trauma of an unwanted pregnancy. Adoption is also traumatic for the child who loses access to their birth family and is at risk for alienation and maltreatment in their adoptive family. Homeschooling parents have been known to “collect” or engage in labor trafficking of adopted children.

Deeply concerning in the leaked document is SCOTUS’s concept of a “domestic supply of infants.” Such a concept hinges on systemically removing Black, Brown, immigrant, and other marginalized children from their own communities and forcibly rehoming them with caregivers whom the state deems fit—overwhelmingly white, Christian, heterosexual parents. Some homeschooling parents deliberately adopt marginalized children to deny them access to their culture, identity, and history and to indoctrinate them into a form of Christian extremism. Children are treated as pawns in a culture war and as property to be bought and sold. The despicable ideology behind “a domestic supply of infants” positions parenthood as ownership and dehumanizes children entirely.

The extremist fundamentalist and evangelical Christian organizations behind the destruction of abortion rights are also behind the denial of children’s rights in the U.S. One such example is the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and its president and CEO Michael Farris. As founder and board chair of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Farris led efforts to ensure that the U.S. is the only nation that refuses to ratify the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Homeschooled children have been particularly devastated by these organizations’ concerted efforts to deprive children of their human rights. Empowered by HSLDA’s successful efforts to deregulate homeschooling, many homeschooling parents exploit homeschooling’s minimal oversight to deny their children health care, medical privacy, and bodily autonomy. Without guaranteed access to a public school’s health care infrastructure, mandatory reporters, or support structures outside the home, homeschooled children are entirely at their parents’ mercy for physical and mental health care. CRHE maintains a database tracking hundreds of cases of abuse and neglect in homeschooling environments. The stories of homeschooled children like Christopher Forder, Sanaa Cunningham, and J., who each suffered abuse and medical neglect in an isolated home, illustrate the dangers of a system that denies children medical care and bodily autonomy. The dismal state of homeschooled children’s rights offers a sobering preview of these organizations’ ideal vision for a disempowered population of children and adults alike.

CRHE believes that all people, including children, have the right to bodily autonomy, medical privacy, and self-determination. Our Bill of Rights for Homeschooled Children, an aspirational vision for the homeschooling movement released in 2021, affirms these rights and others. Children are not the property of their parents. People are not the property of the state.

A mercenary desire for a “domestic supply of infants” does not outweigh the need for millions of people to maintain the right to make decisions about their bodies and lives. It is imperative that the right to abortion is enshrined into federal law and expanded nationwide. We call on homeschool alumni, homeschooling parents, legislators, children’s rights advocates, and all those who value human rights to take a stand for abortion rights and reproductive justice.

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