California capitol building in Sacramento
A bill on its way to the full California Senate will bypass parents and give complete authority to children as young as 12 years old regarding medical treatment decisions for major infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
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.
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 contends 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 explained.
“It would open up a precedent if this were applied to a whole host of different areas where you just [hand over] 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 believes the assemblywoman’s staff members are counting on the bill evading significant 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, he said, with a court determining it is “way out of bounds” and “could cause trouble in a lot of different areas in the law.”
[Listen to the interview with Jordan Sekulow here.]
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 with a child until he 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.
Although no one in Assemblywoman Atkins office would grant WND an interview on the bill, a staffer twice rejected the questions about Gardasil and the bill’s intent to bypass parental consent.
This is not the first instance in which the controversial 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 Guardasil.
As WND reported, a month later the Texas Legislature passed a bill by a 6-1 margin that rescinded the governor’s executive order.
Perry has since admitted that the move was a mistake.