Updated: 5-20-2015 11:13 AM

In Texas, families enjoy many freedoms and opportunities, and parents are able to raise and care for their children as they see fit. However, a bill undermining the family has passed both the Senate and the House, and now sits on Governor Abbott’s desk.

This bill, SB 359, allows for hospitals and medical facilities to detain individuals who are “unable to consent for themselves”–including minors–for up to four hours if they claim to believe that person has a mental illness and may cause harm to himself or others. This detention period can be extended if the health facility contacts a law enforcement official to take the individual into protective custody.

By allowing for children to be detained without a warrant or order for emergency detention, removing children from a parent’s home and/or extending their separation from their parent is much more likely.

Interestingly, both of the bill authors are legislators who have opposed THSC on important parental rights issues in the past. Last session, Senator West carried SB 1148, a bill by the Family Law Foundation that would have widened the already existing loophole in the Grandparents Access Statute and allowed any grandparent to sue any parent for possession of his or her children. This session, Senator Huffman refused to meet with THSC to discuss SB 414, the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act, and refused to give the bill a vote in committee.

You can read the text of the SB 359 here. Many other groups are opposing this legislation as well, and are sending a public letter to the Governor, which you can view here. THSC also has written a letter to the Governor, which you can see here.

Call to Action

Calls to Governor Abbott’s office are needed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. this week, asking him to veto SB 359. The number for the office is (512) 463-2000.

Your message can be something like this:

“Hello, I’m from ________ (your city), and I’m calling to ask the Governor to veto SB 359. This bill would allow minors to be detained without a warrant simply because a hospital thinks that they need to remain at the facility–even against the parents’ wishes. Additionally, law enforcement can be requested to allow for further detention, also against the wishes of a good parent. SB 359 undermines parental rights, so please veto this bill!”

Since 1986, THSC has fought to Keep Texas Families Free. You can rest assured, THSC will stand by members to continue protecting the rights of home school families. Is your home school family protected?