A proposed law moving through the North Carolina legislature requires teens to get notarized parental consent to access certain health services, specifically testing and treatment for STDs, pregnancy, mental health, and substance abuse.
Proponents say the law restores and supports lines of communication within families, and prevents problematic behavior from being repeated by involving parents.
But opponents say the law doesn’t account for less-than-ideal, abusive familial situations where there aren’t healthy lines of communication. The bill could dissuade young people from seeking the help they need.
Doctors and health advocates testified against HB 693 on Tuesday, pointing out that imposing obstacles to health services could ultimately dissuade youth from seeking the medical care they need. In fact, studies have shown that when adolescents are required to seek out parental consent to access birth control and STD services, teen pregnancies tend to go up and teens’ willingness to seek out STD testing tends to go down. That’s particularly problematic considering the fact that the Centers for Disease Control has found that STDs disproportionately affect young people. In North Carolina specifically, half of all new reported cases of sexually transmitted infections occur among people between the ages of 15 and 24.
According to a recent poll by the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina, parents actually overwhelmingly support giving minors full access to confidential medical services.
Since Republicans hold super majorities in both houses of North Carolina’s legislature, the bill should advance.
North Carolina would be the first state to enact such a law.
Are you for or against this law?
Should we really be passing a law that could discourage kids from receiving needed health treatment?
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