Bill To Let Minors Obtain Preventive STI Services Awaits Brown’s Decision
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is considering legislation (AB 499), by Assembly member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), that would allow minors ages 12 and older to seek medical care to prevent sexually transmitted infections without consent from a parent, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Brown has not expressed a position on the bill.
Details of the Bill
The measure would not make STI prevention measures mandatory but would allow minors to receive preventive services for certain STIs without parental consent.
The services that would be available include:
- Hepatitis vaccinations;
- MedicationsÂ to reduce the risk of HIV infection; and
- Vaccines against the human papillomavirus.
Debating the Bill
Supporters of the measure have said the bill is a logical move to promote public health.
However, advocates note that many minors could be deterred by the costs of the vaccines, which could be more than $300, and the need for several injections over several months.
Meanwhile, parental rights advocates, vaccination opponents, andÂ conservative and religious groupsÂ do not favorÂ the bill, saying it compromises parents' rights.
Dawn Winkler -- executiveÂ director of Health Advocacy in the Public Interest -- questioned how a 12-year-old could assess the risks and benefits of a medical decision without having the knowledge of a parent.
Other critics of the bill have said that abstinence-based education from parents is the most effective way to address STI prevention.
Opponents also have resisted the idea that the state could help fund such services for teens who are eligible for state health care plans (Van Oot, Sacramento Bee, 9/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.