New Mexico Law Prohibits Forced Psychiatric Drugging of Children – First Such Law in the U.S.*
By Brian Shilhavy
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) has produced and released a new video featuring New Mexico lawmaker Nora Espinoza, who sponsored New Mexico House Bill 53 which became law in 2015, ensuring that a parent’s decision not to administer psychotropic drugs to a child is not grounds for a child being removed from parental custody by Child Protective Services (CPS). The law also restricts school personnel from taking any action against the parent or compelling or requiring any student to take a psychotropic drug and, further, requires parental written consent prior to any psychological screening.
CCHR states that:
“This is the strongest law against childhood drugging ever acted in the United States.”
Other States Begin to Take Action
While this is the strongest bill currently passed, New Mexico is not alone in wanting to set limits on mental health intrusions both within the home and at schools.
According to CCHR:
Florida and Colorado both have passed laws providing enhanced rights to parents, including to right to refuse psychiatric testing/screening and/or provide written consent prior to any screening and, further, to prohibit school personnel from recommending the use of psychiatric drugs and/or make it so the refusal of a parent to consent to the administration of a psychiatric drug to their child is not a condition of the child attending school.
Most notably, Florida currently has a bill (HB 209) that directly addresses psychiatry’s diagnosing manual, stating that before a student is evaluated for the purpose of diagnosing the child with any disorder listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the parent shall be notified of all of the following:
- The behaviours prompting the evaluation could be the result of underlying physical conditions.
- The parent should consider consulting a medical doctor to rule out physical causes.
- The parent has the right to decline the evaluation.
- The evaluation and subsequent classification or placement may be documented on the student’s cumulative record.
Thirteen states, including the recently enacted legislation in New Mexico, have passed legislation addressing parental rights as they pertain to refusing psychiatric drugs, restricting removal of children by CPS based solely on the parent’s refusal to administer psychiatric drugs to a child, and coercion of parents to submit their child to mental health screening.
Five states, including Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas and Virginia, have passed legislation prohibiting school personnel from recommending the use of psychiatric drugs and/or prohibiting the refusal of a parent to consent to the administration of a psychiatric drug to a child from being a condition of the student attending school.
Additionally, Utah, New Hampshire, Arizona and, now, New Mexico, have enacted legislation protecting parents from having their children removed by CPS based on the grounds of medical neglect for refusing to administer a psychiatric drug to their child.
And, in Michigan, in response to the well-publicized case of the harrowing armed assault against Maryanne Godboldo for refusing to drug her daughter, the Department of Children and Families changed its policy, reflecting the public outcry and stating “CPS is not responsible for investigating complaints that allege parents are failing or refusing to provide their children with psychotropic medication such as Ritalin.” (Source.)
Taking the Legislation to the National Level
Nora Espinoza is a board member of the bipartisan National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, which took the language of the New Mexico law and wrote a resolution that was delivered to Washington D.C.’s Department of Health.
Ms. Espinoza explains her passion for this topic:
“I love being a mother. That was a gift that God gave to me. God did not give that gift to government. And for government to come in and to dictate and to take those rights away from me – how dare they! And that’s where my passion comes.
To fight for the rights of our children, for the safety of our children, and the health of our children, and to protect parents is not a political platform. It is not a democratic or republican platform.
First of all, I am very clear that no entity is going to come and tell me what my child needs or force me to put them on medication. If they choose to force me to put them on medication, I’d be in prison. I really would, because I would fight for my children.”