A North Carolina state House committee on Tuesday passed a bill that would ban teenagers from having tests or even counseling for sexually transmitted diseases without a parent’s consent.
The House Health and Human Services Committee gave a favorable report to House Bill 693 by a vote of 14 to 8.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, the bill “would repeal a four-decade old law that has allowed minors to seek treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and birth control without a parent’s or guardian’s consent.”
Parental approval would also be required for anyone under the age of 18 seeking substance abuse, mental health treatment or pregnancy care. Any care provider would be forced to obtain notarized written approval before diagnosing, treating or even counseling.
“That would be the strictest bill in the country because no other state requires parental consent for STD testing,” WRAL’s Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie noted on Tuesday.
“That would extend to school counselors,” WRAL report Mark Binker added. “So if you can imagine a confused teenager going into a school counselor’s office and that counselor not being able to talk to the child about what’s come up because he doesn’t have that notary sign off.”
“Doctors [are] also speaking up loudly against this bill,” Leslie pointed out. “They say it will keep kids from accessing care when they need it and could cost lives.”
But Republicans like state Rep. Marilyn Avila argued that current laws allowing teens unfettered access to medical care had been “undermining our families” for decades. She said that the new measure would put “less emphasis on individual children and more on the family.”
House Bill 693 was placed on the calendar to be considered by the full state House on Wednesday.
Watch this video from WRAL, broadcast May 7, 2013.