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Controversy Over Minors' Right to Prevent STDs

Conservatives of all stripes are expressing alarm over the recent passage of California Assembly Bill 499, introduced by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins of San Diego. If signed by Governor Brown, the bill would allow minors 12 years of age or older to seek preventative care that would assist them in avoiding contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

Vaccines would be available for diseases such as Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the world’s most prevalent STD and the cause of almost all documented cases of cervical cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all girls over the age of 12 receive HPV vaccinations. Also available would be HIV post-exposure medications, which prevent a person exposed to the virus from developing an infection that can morph into AIDS.

Currently, minors age 12-17 are allowed to seek treatment for STDs they’ve already contracted. The new law would extend this right to include preventative care.

The bill is opposed by the California Catholic Conference, which is urging its members to call Brown and ask for his veto. Fiscal conservatives say the bill could place an undue financial burden on the state, as it specifically absolves parents of responsibility for payment if a minor seeks treatment, with costs estimated at $300 to $500 per doctor’s visit. One website even goes so far as to suggest that passage of the bill would “mandate STD vaccine[s] for sixth grade girls.”

The full text of the bill is available here.

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Conservatives of all stripes are expressing alarm over the recent passage of California Assembly Bill 499, introduced by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins of San Diego. If signed by Governor Brown, the bill would allow minors 12 years of age or older to seek preventative care that would assist them in avoiding contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

Vaccines would be available for diseases such as Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the world’s most prevalent STD and the cause of almost all documented cases of cervical cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all girls over the age of 12 receive HPV vaccinations. Also available would be HIV post-exposure medications, which prevent a person exposed to the virus from developing an infection that can morph into AIDS.

Currently, minors age 12-17 are allowed to seek treatment for STDs they’ve already contracted. The new law would extend this right to include preventative care.

The bill is opposed by the California Catholic Conference, which is urging its members to call Brown and ask for his veto. Fiscal conservatives say the bill could place an undue financial burden on the state, as it specifically absolves parents of responsibility for payment if a minor seeks treatment, with costs estimated at $300 to $500 per doctor’s visit. One website even goes so far as to suggest that passage of the bill would “mandate STD vaccine[s] for sixth grade girls.”

The full text of the bill is available here.

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Comments
6

Jarin Udom: ‎"Durr I'm a Catholic and my parenting sucks so bad that getting a vaccination will turn my daughter into a sex-crazed maniac."

Sept. 2, 2011

Jen Finnell: I'm all for prevention. However, that could be an expensive bill if every 13 year old ran out and demanded a free HPV vaccine. I think the law would cover boys, too? It could be the end of us all!

However, I am quite familiar with teenagers. I seriously doubt they will be stampeding to get vaccinated.

Does this law cover mammograms?

Sept. 2, 2011

Jim Poole: Wow..lets just not be responsible for any of our own actions anymore(and the parents of the kids)?And parents can rest easy now lol?Im all for kids but cmon..when does it stop? It would probably be much cheaper just to educate children on these issues don't you think? Our resources are already in the RED? If we always have an easy fix for every situation what kind of message are we sending?

Sept. 2, 2011

Brandon Pimentel: um so preventing one of the leading culprits of cervical and colon cancer (not to mention one that rarely shows signs until it's too late) is getting resistance because everyone is all of a sudden an expert on ethics and values that over science and preventative health? to paraphrase professor farnsworth... "i don't want to live on this planet anymore"

Sept. 2, 2011

Prevention? Good idea. Will medicines cause all the kids to rush out and have sex? Probably not, although a sense of safety from consequences cannot be ignored. So what's the problem conservatives have here?

Contrary to the hand-picked quotes above, for many of us it's the hypocrisy behind bills like this which is disturbing. Parental consent forms are needed before a child is put on a bus to go off campus to see an art museum. A school nurse cannot give a 17 year-old an aspirin without parental approval without risking a lawsuit. Giving cold medicine to a neighbor child in your home could get you in big trouble. But the state can tell doctors to give injectable vaccinations to minors without notifying parents, much less involving them in the decision?

This is about taking away parental rights. And it is only being pushed in areas of underage sexuality.

Wake up and smell the latex.

Sept. 2, 2011

If this bill passes, I don't think we'll be seeing 12-year-old kids will running to their doctors to get themselves vaccinated, to prep themselves for sex. What this bill will allow pediatricians to do is to offer the vaccine to minors who come to them requesting birth control, or treatment of their STDs, without requiring the consent of their parents. Though I'd much rather have my kids talk to me than their doctor, even they're having sex behind my back anyway, of course I'd want them vaccinated against cancer and genital warts. I'm a doctor with three kids. If you want to read the real evidence behind the HPV vaccine, check out my blog at www.evidencebasedmommy.com.

Sept. 2, 2011

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