May 9, 2013 — The North Carolina House Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday passed a bill (HB 693) that would require minors to obtain notarized parental consent to receive treatment for various reproductive and mental health services, the Huffington Post reports (Basset, Huffington Post, 5/7). The bill now proceeds to the full House.
Under the bill, minors who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian who can give consent would have to present written permission to obtain birth control or receive care for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, substance abuse and mental illness.
The bill would allow exceptions in medical emergencies, if a minor obtained a judicial waiver from the consent requirement or if the requirement is prohibited under federal health funding regulations, according to the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If passed, the bill would make North Carolina the first state to require parental consent for STI services (Kardish, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/7).
Opposition From Experts
Doctors and health advocates who testified against the bill said it would discourage teens from seeking treatment for STIs and mental health issues.
"Here's the bottom line: Everybody wants teenagers to talk to their parents, but public policy is not based on ideal families," said Paige Johnson, vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina. She added that teens who cannot talk to their parents because of abuse in the home or other reasons "need to be able to access professional care" (Huffington Post, 5/7).