Human Exceptionalism

Destroying Parental Rights Over Kids’ Healthcare in California

The once sacrosanct parental right to determine their children’s health care (in all but extreme circumstances) seems to be under constant assault as the lawmakers and bureaucrats apparently believe that school-based and special interest advocates are better able to decide what is best for kids than parents. Take California’s AB 499, as one example. It would allow children over the age of 12 to obtain medical treatment without parental consent for treatment of reportable contagious or venereal diseases. From the legislation:

SECTION 1. Section 6926 of the Family Code is amended to read: 6926. (a) A minor who is 12 years of age or older and who may have come into contact with an infectious, contagious, or communicable disease may consent to medical care related to the diagnosis or treatment of the disease, if the disease or condition is one that is required by law or regulation adopted pursuant to law to be reported to the local health officer, or is a related sexually transmitted disease, as may be determined by the State Director of Health Services Public Health Officer.

(b) A minor who is 12 years of age or older may consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease.

This is awful. Children can contract serious reportable diseases–such as anthrax, diphtheria, toxic shock syndrome, and SARS–and if this legislation passes, parents could be kept in the dark.

But let’s be honest: We all know that such conditions are not what this legislation is all about. Rather, supporters desire to allow children to be treated for sexually transmittable diseases such as syphilis and HIV without parental knowledge or consent.  Moreover, the “prevent” STDs is about giving 12-year-olds the HPV vaccine without parental knowledge.  Thus, to put it bluntly, the law seeks to make it easier for underage children to be sexually active without worry that their parents will find out.  And it substitutes parental authority for those who would smile benignly on such activities.

AB 499 is a cultural attack against parents who hold traditional mores and values, plain as day.  Parents in California aren’t entitled to know if their minor daughters have abortions or obtain birth control.  Now, they are on the verge of being excluded from other important and intimate aspects of their children’s lives.  In short, the legislation is an example of moral and cultural imperialism.

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