Parental-Autonomy Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Parental-Autonomy Doctrine refers to a principle that parents have fundamental right to raise his or her child and to make all decisions concerning that child free from governmental intervention, unless the child's health and welfare are jeopardized by the parent's decisions. The state can interfere with the parents right if public health, welfare, safety, and order are threatened by the parent's decisions. This principle was first recognized in the case Meyer v. Neb., 262 U.S. 390 (U.S. 1923)wherein the court held that the State cannot, under the guise of exercising its police power, interfere with guaranteed liberty interests. Liberty guaranteed under U.S. Const. amend. XIV includes rights to establish a home and bring up children. A teacher's right to teach and the right of parents to engage a teacher to instruct their children are within the liberty guaranteed under U.S. Const. amend. XIV. This may not be interfered with, under the guise of protecting the public interest, by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of a state to effect.