IRELAND, November 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Irish parents have teamed together in a desperate attempt to fight what they say is a looming governmental usurpation of parental rights in the form of a referendum that, on the surface, professes to be about “protecting children.”

Their message: “The referendum is a bad deal for Irish children.”

Former MEP Kathy Sinnott, an outspoken member of Alliance of Parents against the State (APS), called the upcoming November 10 referendum “absolutely diabolical”.

“The new wording [proposed for the Constitution] is actually giving children less protection,” she said.

Critics of the referendum have focused mainly on wording in the amendment that allows state agents to remove children from the family and place them in care if they believe it is in the child’s “best interests.” The amendment also allows children to be adopted out to other families without parents’ consent.

Sinnott said that Ireland already has a Constitution that “really protects the family, protects life, protects marriage.”

But 20 years ago, she said, the Irish government quietly ratified the Unite Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UN has now been “pushing the Irish people” to have a referendum to amend their Constitution so that it corresponds to the UN Convention.

“The government thinks that people are ready to buy their propaganda that changing the Constitution is about protecting children. Of course this is nonsense, because our Constitution already very strongly protects children.”

Sinnott said that all the referendum does is to strip parents of their God-given responsibilities over their children and to hand them over to the State.

“Not only does the State take over parental authority, but all a parent has to do is ‘likely to fail’ in their responsibilities, as defined by the State, for the State to take control of the children.”

“Everything, of course, is for the ‘best interest of the child’, which according to the UN treaty, is decided by the State.”

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Sinnott called the proposed amendment a “complete reversal of natural law”.

“The reason why the family should have prior rights over children is because of the family bond, which is nature’s strategy for protecting children. This is the mother-child bond, the father-child bond, the mother-father bond, and the brother-sister bond,” she said.

“This bond is the source of what is really in the ‘best interest’ of the child. The State can never have this bond. By injecting themselves as controlling shareholder of every family in this country, the State is reversing this natural order.”

Sinnott said that with the wording of the Constitutional amendment being released just a few weeks ago, there has been no time for parents to mobilize effective resistance.

“It has been a YES campaign from the beginning,” she said. “Everyone believes that in voting YES, they are protecting children, but they are really giving up their rights over their children.”

Alliance of Parents against the State has compiled a list of 10 reasons to vote No in the Children’s Rights Referendum.

According to this list, under the amended Constitution:

• Parents will be reduced to caregivers of their children under the ratified Constitution
• The State will be given the power to put children up for adoption, even against the will of the parents
• The State will have the power to vaccinate every child in Ireland, if it sees that it is in a children’s best interest
• The State will have the power to give birth control to children of any age, even if they are below the age of consent

In a statement yesterday, the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said that “any constitutional change could have wide-ranging and unforeseen consequences for the relationship between children, the family and the State.”

“In particular, it could undermine the careful balance between the rights of parents and children and between the rights of parents (or guardians) and the State achieved by current constitutional provisions.”

Despite this concern, the bishops suggested that a “reasonable and balanced approach” has been taken by the government in “framing the proposed new article on children’s rights”.

The bishops proposed that if “unforeseen or unintended consequences do emerge in time, the remedy of further Constitutional amendment or amending legislation is available to mitigate the consequences of any such developments.”

Sinnott called the bishops’ statement “extraordinary” for being “very fuzzy”.

“What they’ve said is: ‘Look, if it works out badly, you can always go back and change the Constitution’. The problem is that it’s incredibly difficult to change the Constitution,” she said.

“There is no way the government would ever reverse this amendment, because this gives them all the power.”

The APS is asking all Irish parents to consider what is at stake in the Referendum.

“Do you trust the Government with your children?” asks the APS.