Parental consent for STD treatment: blazing a trail backwards

You have the right to remain silent:

Except as prohibited by federal law, unless a parent or legal guardian or legal custodian of an unemancipated minor is present with the unemancipated minor and gives 24 consent, no health care provider duly licensed in the State of North Carolina, or agent thereof, 25 shall provide health care services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of (i) sexually 26 transmitted diseases, including Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency 27 Syndrome, (ii) abuse of controlled substances or alcohol, (iii) mental illness, or (iv) pregnancy 28 unless the health care provider or agent thereof, or another health care provider or agent 29 thereof, first obtains the written consent of the minor and the notarized written consent of any 30 one of the following:

It's not enough to force teens to involve their parents in a process that should just be patient/doctor. Oh no. We've got to have a notary public become part of the "treatment team". I realize that many thumpers in the Republican Party hold to the old (17th Century) method of "shaming" people into compliance with arbitrary social morality codes. But when those codes become dangerous and costly, it's important to shame them right back:

The debate underlying SB 1309 about minors' legal ability to access STD treatment without parental consent must be considered in the context of public health data on the prevalence and burden of STDs among adolescents. An estimated 25% of Americans aged 14–19 years are infected with one or more STDs, and STD infection rates among American minority young people are significantly higher.4 STDs impose significant social, economic, and health burdens on young people and society at large.5,6 Approximately 70% of young women infected with Chlamydia and 50% of those infected with gonorrhea are asymptomatic and may remain untreated.7 Untreated STDs and recurrent infections from gonorrhea and Chlamydia are a predominant cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in young women.8 Left untreated, PID can lead to long-term complications, including tubal scarring resulting in infertility, ectopic pregnancies, and chronic pelvic pain.9,10 Furthermore, the presence of any STD increases the risk of transmission of and susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus infection.11 In 2009, Arizona's Maricopa County ranked eighth highest nationally for reported Chlamydia rates.12 STD rates in Maricopa County and Arizona mimic national trends and demonstrate racial/ethnic and gender disparities.13

The core of this study is about attempts by power-hungry and sympathy-lacking Republicans in Arizona to do what the NC GOP is trying to do here: change a law that was put into place for a very good reason. They failed, because a whole buncha people stood up for the rights and health of young people. And unless we want to become the first state in the nation to hold this dubious honor:

All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow minors to access health care without parental consent for the treatment of STDs.19 At least four states (California, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts) also mandate confidentiality when the minor is able to consent to such treatment.20–24 However, 18 states allow physicians to contact a minor's parents following STD treatment when the physician deems it in the minor's best interests.19

Unlike several states that require the minor to reach a certain age before being able to provide consent for the diagnosis and treatment of STDs,25 Arizona law does not set a threshold age for a minor seeking treatment for STDs (or venereal diseases as referred to in the law).2 Since 1971, Arizona minors have had the legal right to obtain medical care relating to diagnosis and treatment (including treatment with prescription drugs) for STDs without parental consent;2 this right has largely gone without court challenge. Arizona law generally gives parents control over a minor's medical information, but due to minors' ability to consent to STD treatment under A.R.S. §44-132.01, the minor may control information regarding STD treatment and restrict disclosure to the minor's parents.26 When state law does not require parental consent for medical treatment, the federal Privacy Rule promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA Privacy Rule) protects minors' privacy regarding their identifiable health information.27 Accordingly, under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, because minors may consent to medical care for STDs under state law, they control disclosure of their own health information regarding STDs.18

We need to oppose this just as vigorously here. We can't allow the morally-confused and science-challenged to recklessly endanger the health of those who are trying to navigate the raging river that leads to adulthood, and we also can't allow them to take counterproductive steps that will add millions to the costs of treating outbreaks of STDs, which will surely happen if we use fear and shame as behavior modification instruments.

Comments

They Continue to Find New Ways...

...to deny healthcare to the people of this state based solely on their intolerant ideology. Then they claim to be Christians!

You wonder how they can sleep at night.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

I don't see how...

....someone could make a buck from this. But isn't that the only reason they do anything?

Good Point

It's pretty much the only reason they do anything, but another reason they sometimes do things (I'll claim it's likely in this case) is to make a play to their fundamentalist base and impose their weird worldview on the entire population.

Perhaps the legislators don't directly make a buck on this one, but they get their egos boosted when they go home and get cheered at Tea Party rallies.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Physician level

Given that to comply with this law, a doc would have to violate doctor-patient confidentality, one hopes most docs will just ignore it until it gets overthrown in the courts.

Not surprising

Any efforts to justify this would only make said Representative seem naïve, foolish and recklessly unsympathetic.