Do Parents Have Any Rights Left?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 6, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Stossel Matters" segment tonight: A couple weeks ago, we reported that a 15-year-old high school girl in Seattle was taken for an abortion by public school authorities. Her mother never informed. Also, authorities in Wendell, Idaho, have instituted a curfew on teenagers, telling them they have to go home. They can't be out after a certain hour.

Here now, Fox News business anchor John Stossel on the subject of parental rights. Do you agree with me that parental rights in America being eroded as the government gets bigger and bigger and bigger?

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JOHN STOSSEL, HOST, "STOSSEL": All our rights are gradually eroded as government gets bigger.

O'REILLY: OK. But that includes parents?

STOSSEL: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Because parents have a set of rights that they are supposed to be the sole responsibility in raising their children, not the state. The parents are supposed to make the decisions. Yet we see in Seattle a 15-year-old girl not telling her mom, going in and having a major operation, an abortion, which is physically and mentally a strain, and the mom goes they didn't tell me. That, to me, is — I don't know how that happens.

STOSSEL: In Washington state, that's the law. They don't have to…

O'REILLY: What do you think about the law?

STOSSEL: I disagree. On the other hand, do we have a situation when you have to tell the parents that some girls who are — 18 is the age when you can do it on your own. And at age 17 and three quarters, they have a much later abortion, because they're afraid of their parents?

O'REILLY: Well, there are always exceptions to the rule. And if you're…


O'REILLY: …there's also always a court mandate in all of these laws where parents have to be informed that if there's abuse or there's some, you know, some situation that is unusual, the court can rule and your parents can't be told. But you believe that's an intrusion of parental rights, this abortion deal?

STOSSEL: Yes, in most cases.

O'REILLY: OK. All right, now, the curfew, more and more towns are seeing that kids are hanging around. Parents not supervising them, particularly in the summer. And they're saying hey, got to be off the street by 11:00, all right? Does that infringe on the parental right to say look, Lenny is a good kid, I want him to stay out to 1:00. He can stay out to 1:00?

STOSSEL: Yes. And often, it's later on the weekends. Often the rule is that if he has a note from his parents, but he has to have the note on him. That seems like…

O'REILLY: A note?

STOSSEL: I give my son permission to be out.

O'REILLY: Right. Like anybody can't write that note, huh, Stossel? I mean, you and I were doing that thing in the fifth grade.

STOSSEL: Well, presumably they check.

O'REILLY: The dog ate the homework.

STOSSEL: They check with the parents. But I covered a girl who was sitting with her friends in a public park right across the street. The cops arrested them. And she said look, I live right there. Talk to my parents.

O'REILLY: Because they were out after a certain hour.


O'REILLY: Now you believe because the Idaho Supreme Court upheld this Wendell, Idaho, curfew.

STOSSEL: Hundreds of cities have curfews.

O'REILLY: Do you think that they're legal?


O'REILLY: OK. So you have no problem with the kids being told you can't be out of a certain…

STOSSEL: I do have a problem. I think it infringes on the rights of the kids, freedom to assemble. But the police like them because it's easier, makes their job easier and it reduces crime.

O'REILLY: Yes, it's easier. It does. It does. Now we have another one in Oregon that the school, we talked about this, the "Culture Warriors" last week, bans hugging. Can't hug. All right. Because you know how kids are. I mean, now they're hugging, and then they are in the closet, and then they're in the abortion clinic. You know what I'm talking about? It kind of goes from one to the next to the next. So the school authorities say, look, no hugging. What do you say?

STOSSEL: Well, I think it's ridiculous. But I'm not there.

O'REILLY: You think what's ridiculous?

STOSSEL: That they have a flat-out ban on hugging.

O'REILLY: Does that go under the right to assemble?

STOSSEL: One of the cases they cite were two eighth grade girls who were hugging a 7th grade boy to see if he would get aroused.

O'REILLY: Or they smothered him to death one or the two, whichever came first.

STOSSEL: But we don't know what their special circumstances are. This is…

O'REILLY: But if you're a principal, do you want kids groping each other all day long in the hallways?

STOSSEL: Well, then say no groping. No…

O'REILLY: You don't like the word hugging?

STOSSEL: Yes, hugging is a good thing.

O'REILLY: It's a good thing. OK.

STOSSEL: It's nice that these kids have learned to be physically affectionate with each other.

O'REILLY: No hugging with any intent to do anything other than hug.

STOSSEL: But this is why it's good to have limited government, because these are federal rules. You don't have a choice. At least this way if your school has a stupid rule…


STOSSEL: …you can go to some other school.

O'REILLY: Some other school, a private school.

STOSSEL: If the O'Reilly rules are bad, you can go to Hannityville.

O'REILLY: But if you go to Catholic school, trust me, there's no hugging, all right. Not in the Catholic schools.

STOSSEL: I bet even in Catholic schools these days…

O'REILLY: All right, OK. Well, I hope that the Obamacare extends to hugging and they get a little subsidy if they want to hug. John Stossel, everybody. Thanks very much.

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