Toni Atkins

A bill on its way to the full California Senate would allow the state to bypass parents on medical treatment decisions for sexually transmitted diseases and other conditions and give the government complete authority for those decisions regarding children as young as 12 years old.

State Assembly Bill 499, sponsored by San Diego Democratic Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown if it comes to his desk.

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The short bill completely leaves out the parents from its decision-making provisions. Section One, Paragraph (a) covers the broad purpose of the bill:

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 Public Health Officer.

Paragraph (b) deals specifically with STDs:

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

Paragraph (c) takes away the parents’ financial liability for the treatments but does not specify which parties will assume financial responsibility for the diagnosis or treatment of any infectious or sexually transmitted diseases.

A spokesman for Atkins disputes the claims about the bill, saying, “I don’t know where you got your information.”

However, American Center for Law and Justice Executive Director Jordan Sekulow says the short bill is clearly designed to bypass parental rights.

“It’s one of those examples where you can fundamentally alter a parent’s rights without ever saying parents,” Sekulow stated.

“It would open up a precedent if this were applied to a whole host of different areas where you just erode those rights to kids. If a kid doesn’t like his parents’ choices, they can start relying on the state for that as well,” he said.

He said the assemblywoman’s staff members are counting on the bill evading public scrutiny.

“They don’t think this is going to get a lot of attention; they don’t think people are going to focus on it,” Sekulow said. “A lot of times at this level, they don’t realize the long term ramifications of a bill like this.”

He said there’s a good chance it won’t pass legal muster and a court will determine it is “way out of bounds” and “could cause trouble in a lot of different areas in the law.”

Listen to an interview with Sekulow:

Sekulow said the primary issue with the bill is the authority of the parents to make the right choices for their children.

“To me, the ultimate part of this is parental rights. That’s what this is all about, and it’s a concerted effort by groups associated with the Planned Parenthood-type, pro-abortion groups that try to do everything possible to erode these rights,” Sekulow said.

“Anything under that is a part. STDs is a part of that; abortion is a part of that,” he added.

Sekulow also took aim at the section of the bill that takes away the parents’ financial responsibility for the treatment.

“The fact that they say [the parents] are not liable means they’re going to cover the cost of the procedures, and I guess the taxpayers will have to cover the ramifications of something bad happening,” Sekulow said.

Parents might not find out something is wrong until the child is hospitalized, he pointed out.

“You see how far this goes,” Sekulow said.

Then there’s the question of who is financially responsible for medical treatment if something goes wrong.

If a child is on his parents’ insurance, Sekulow said, “but the state is the senior authority and they’re showing up at the hospital one night and the parents are saying, ‘Here’s our insurance,’ then you have this issue where the parents are going to argue with the state over who is responsible for this when all of this went on behind their back. They didn’t even know until that moment happened.”

Commenting on the California law, columnist Michelle Malkin said that the bill effectively is a mandate to administer Gardasil to students as young as age 12. Gardasil is a preventative treatment for the human papilloma virus, which is transmitted through sexual relations.

A staff member in Atkins’ office twice rejected questions about Gardasil and the bill’s intent to bypass parental consent.

This is not the first instance in which the Merck medication has been at the center of a controversy.

In 2007, Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order mandating that all sixth grade girls be vaccinated with Gardasil as a preventative treatment for the human papilloma virus. The controversy is that the supposed connection to later cervical cancer remains clouded, and HPV is transmitted primarily by sexual activity.

As WND reported, a month later the Texas Legislature approved a bill, by a 6-1 margin, rescinding the executive order.

Perry has since admitted that the move was a mistake.

Judicial Watch, a Washington government watchdog organization, has documented dozens of serious injuries and deaths linked to Gardasil.

Judicial Watch launched a comprehensive investigation of Gardasil’s safety record in 2008 after the drug’s manufacturer, Merck & Co., began a major effort to lobby in state legislatures to impose requirements that girls be given their product. Eventually the Centers for Disease Control suggested the maker back off its campaign.

It was in 2008 when Judicial Watch obtained documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration documenting “anaphylactic shock,” “foaming at mouth,” “grand mal convulsion,” “coma” and paralysis as complications from Gardasil. 

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