Becoming a first-time parent can be one of the most remarkable, memorable, and stressful events you ever experience. For the first few weeks of your little one’s life, you might frantically fret about diaper changes, feedings, and bath-time. But, with the help of resources like family, friends, and Google, most parents figure things out fairly soon. Before you know it, you feel like a parenting pro despite the fact you didn’t leave the hospital with an instruction manual.
As if tending to a newborn isn’t stressful enough, the state of Oregon wants to overwhelm new parents with unsolicited governmental oversight and interference. According to Natural News, Governor Kate Brown’s latest budget proposal includes Senate Bill 526, which calls for the Oregon Health Authority to urgently “study home visiting by licensed health care providers.”
To move the bill through the legislature at breakneck speed, lawmakers have given it an “emergency” designation. As a result, the measure should be addressed by the end of 2019. The 18 sponsors of the initiative say it’s “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.”
In a nutshell, Bill 526 would require each family with a newborn to receive visits from appointed healthcare professionals in the pivotal, early weeks after a baby arrives home from the hospital. PJ Media reported the Beaver Times’ description of the measure, which reads, “When the program is complete, every new parent — this includes adoptions — would receive a series of two or three visits by someone like a nurse or other health care practitioner. The visits could include basic health screenings for babies; hooking parents up with primary care physicians; linking them to other services; and coordinating the myriad childhood immunizations that babies need.”
At first glance, Bill 526 might seem like a great idea. It would provide parents with the help and support they need from trusted medical professionals during those stressful first weeks with a little one. However, Natural News aptly points out the measure “is nothing more than a way for the government to get early access to and control over children.” It broadcasts Oregon’s lack of trust in parents’ ability to take care of their own kids. The initiative provides an easy way for children to immediately “fall under the watchful eye of Big Brother.”
Supporters of the measure claim this kind of monitoring will determine which children are being abused and neglected in a timely manner. This early detection will allow these kids to be removed from homes and get the help they need. But, PJ Media astonishingly reported that kids in the Oregon foster care system are being abused at double the rate of the rest of the country.
Obviously, the Beaver State isn’t doing an adequate job of caring for the vulnerable kids already under its provision. So, why should it have the right to take on the surveillance of an additional 40,000 babies born every year?
PJ Media correctly stated, “No state agent could ever be an adequate substitute for a loving parent, but clearly, not everyone agrees. Proponents of home surveillance cite child abuse statistics and highlight horrific cases of neglect and abuse, glossing over the fact that most of these cases involve families who were known to law enforcement authorities and social services agencies that were unable to protect the children from their abusers.”
The program has been conducted in Lincoln County. However, it hasn’t been attempted at the statewide level yet. The director of the Oregon Health Authority, Patrick Allen, is hoping this will change. Allen told the Beaverton Valley Times he’s thrilled with the initiative. He remarked, “This isn’t something for people in trouble. This is stuff all kids need. Stuff my kids needed.”
Disturbingly, Oregon isn’t the only state pushing for “universal” home visits for newborns. Earlier this month, the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, said in a tweet, “My budget would also offer universal home visits. This gives every new parent the opportunity to get a visit from a nurse during the first few weeks back home with their newborn to share important information and build confidence.”
Right now, no one is sure whether Oregon or Washington’s programs would be mandatory. The utilization of the word “universal” seems to suggest they would.
And, if they are, what will happen to principled parents who refuse this invasion of privacy during this special time in their family’s lives? If parents don’t band together and demand the government to back off, new parents in these two Northwestern states may soon find out.