Republican lawmakers want to make a note from Mom and Dad necessary for teens to see their doctors–or maybe even their school nurse. A GOP proposal before the Minnesota legislature wants to require minors to obtain written parental consent before having access to some basic young adult healthcare services. These services include pregnancy testing and birth control prescription, STD testing and chemical abuse help. If the proposal becomes law, it would overturn a four-decades old statute that allows minors to see a doctor without parental permission.
From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
“Such a change would set Minnesota apart from most other states, according to one group that tracks sexual and reproductive health issues. And opponents warn the measure could prevent some young people from seeking care because they’re embarrassed or afraid to talk to their parents about their situation.
Minnesota’s current law prevents doctors from disclosing medical information to parents unless the patient agrees or the health issue poses immediate harm. The new proposal also would give parents access to their children’s medical records.”
Many opponents of such parental-consent laws feel that they are directly targeting school-based clinics (which MN Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann labeled “sex clinics”). These SBHCs (School Based Health Clinics) are an expanding pro-child trend nationwide, and seek to provide much-needed healthcare services to the public school population. Services can include a bridge to confidential reproductive health services, though clinics also aim to provide much-needed basic acute health care and supportive medicine for ongoing illnesses to the overall student population.
The MOAPPP (MN Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting) also warns, “There are serious concerns with the legal language of the bill, and the likely ramifications for teens in case of sexual assault, rape and incest.”
Photo credit: dreamstime