Target: North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Goal: To stop a bill that would require parental consent for STD testing in North Carolina
The North Carolina General Assembly recently approved a bill that would require parents to approve all teenage access to STD testing, treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy care, and substance abuse treatment. If this bill becomes law, it would be a travesty both for human rights and public health.
The attempt at bringing awareness to the parental level may be well-intentioned, but the long-term results of this bill would be harmful. The bill will dissuade children from seeking diagnosis or treatment. This dissuasion would present itself in even some of the healthiest familial situations; however the potential harm caused by this bill would be far greater among those trapped in less desirable environments. Youths in at-risk situations such as those with neglectful or abusive parents are more likely to require the services that they would now be harder to access. And in the event of sexual abuse in the home, any attempts at attaining treatment could very well bring additional harm to children living in abusive situations.
It simply makes no sense to pass a bill whose goal is to prevent and limit risky behavior among children and teens yet would actually result in far less available treatment and aid for youths. The target of child-protective legislation must be education, not creating artificial barriers to treatment which will ultimately result in a greater strain upon the system as a whole. It is for this reason that North Carolina Bill 693 must not become law.
Dear Governor McCrory,
North Carolina’s General Assembly has recently approved a controversial piece of legislation known as Bill 693. This bill, should it become law, would require notarized parental approval for any teenagers seeking access to STD testing, treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy care, and substance abuse treatment. To allow this bill to become law would be a tremendous mistake. The idea of adding parental responsibility and awareness is laudable, but by forcing rather than encouraging their participation more harm than good will be done.
This bill will not succeed in placing more power into the hands of parents; instead it will dissuade potentially afflicted children from seeking diagnosis and/or treatment in any fashion. Even within a healthy familial situation teens would be extremely reticent to seek parental approval. Sadly most of those most in need of these services do not come from healthy or ideal situations. Those who are suffering from abuse or neglect are far more likely to require some variation of the aforementioned services, yet obtaining notarized approval from a neglectful parent is highly unlikely while seeking such from an abusive parent may actually bring additional harm onto the child. If that familial abuse is of a sexual nature this bill may very well put the lives of teens in danger rather than render any form of assistance.
There is simply no net benefit to the passing of North Carolina Bill 693. Far more lives will be harmed than helped by requiring parental consent for any medical testing or treatment of STDs. It is for this reason that Bill 693 must never become a North Carolina state law.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: James Gathany via Wikimedia Commons