September 22, 2011 — A bill (AB 499) awaiting the signature of California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) would allow minors in the state 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.
If the bill becomes law, minors could obtain the human papillomavirus vaccine without parental consent. Assembly member Toni Atkins (D) noted that minors in California already can receive STI treatment and abortion care without parental consent.
Supporters of the bill said although it would be ideal for minors to consult with their parents about health care decisions, some young people might be too scared to seek parental approval. "Why do we have a system where you can get a diagnosis and treatment but you can't prevent it from happening in the first place?" Assembly member Nathan Fletcher (R) -- the lone Republican supporting the bill -- asked.
The California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said the bill is a "reasoned and compassionate approach to protecting the lives and health of California teens."
Critics, including some religious and family groups, said the bill would infringe on parental rights. Others argued that minors are not mature enough to make their own health care decisions (Gardner, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/21).
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