Bill Would Let Minors Get Preventive STI Care Minus Parental Consent
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is considering aÂ bill (AB 499), by Assembly member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), that would allow minors to receive preventive care for sexually transmitted infections without parental involvement, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Brown has not stated a position on the bill, which he has until Oct. 9 to sign or veto.
Details of the Bill
Current law prevents individuals younger than age 18 from receiving preventive care, including vaccines, to protect against HIV and other STIs unless parental consent is obtained.
If the bill becomes law, minors could obtain the human papillomavirus vaccine without parental consent. Some strains of HPV can cause cervical cancers that can lead to fertility problems or death, according to CDC.
Health care experts have recommended that girls as young as 11 or 12 receive the vaccine, before they become sexually active.
California health officials and CDC have said that the vaccine is safe and that serious side effects are rare.
Existing lawÂ allows minors to obtain post-infection treatment of STIs and abortions without approval from parents or guardians.
DebateÂ on theÂ Bill
Supporters of the bill have said although it would be ideal for minors to consult with their parents about health care decisions, some young people might be too uncomfortable to seek parental approval.
The California arm of the American Academy of Pediatrics said the legislation is "a reasoned and compassionate approach to protecting the lives and health of California teens."
Critics of the measure contend that the bill would infringe on parental rights.
Others have argued that minors are not mature enough to make their own health care decisions (Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/21).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.