Originally Sent: 5/1/2013

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Bill Allows HPV Vaccine for Children Without Parent’s Knowledge

Homeschooling in New York

We need your calls now!


TJ Schmidt
Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschool their children.
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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Assembly Bill 497 would amend the public health law in New York to permit all health care practitioners to provide certain services related to the prevention of sexually transmissible disease to children without the consent or knowledge of their parents or guardian. Under the bill, these health care practitioners could administer vaccines, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, to any person under the age of 18 without the parents even knowing about it.

HSLDA believes that Assembly Bill 497 is an attack on parental rights. Instead of encouraging the parent-child relationship, this bill will permit health care providers to discuss these serious topics with young children (11-12-year-olds) without any input from the parent.

The companion bill is Senate Bill 3134. Yesterday Assembly Bill 497 was reported out of the Assembly Health Committee and now could be scheduled for a vote by the full Assembly at any time. We strongly encourage you to contact your assemblyman and provide him or her with the message below.

Requested Action

Please contact your assemblyman and give him or her this message in your own words:

“Please oppose Assembly Bill 497. Sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer are very serious subjects. As a parent, I believe that this is something that I should be able to sit down and discuss with my child. Instead, Assembly Bill 497 will put health care practitioners in the place of the parent and allow them to administer vaccines to my child without even my knowledge. With this bill I believe the legislature is only encouraging children to avoid discussing very serious health care issues with their parents instead of fostering an environment where parents and children can face these issues together. Please vote again Assembly Bill 497.”

You can find your assemblyman by using HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox or by going here.

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler. Instead you can identify yourself as a concerned parent and constituent.

Background

New York law already allows a licensed physician or staff physician in a hospital to diagnose or treat—without the consent or knowledge of the parent or guardian—persons under the age of 21 who are infected with or who have been exposed to a sexually transmissible disease. Assembly Bill 497, however, would allow all health care practitioners to diagnose a sexually transmitted disease.

Assembly Bill 497 would also allow any health care practitioner to provide health care services, such as vaccines, that are deemed to “prevent” sexually transmissible diseases. The HPV vaccine is currently recommended by the CDC for girls as young as 11 years old as well as boys 11-12. It is not used to treat sexually transmitted disease, instead, it is strongly urged to be administered before a young person becomes sexually active. Many concerned parents see this as encouraging sexual behavior in younger and younger children.

Even more troubling is the fact that Assembly Bill 497 would allow a health care practitioner to encourage a preteen child to receive the HPV vaccine, or Hepatitis B vaccine, without their parents’ knowledge. Assembly Bill 497 states that the capacity to consent is to be permitted “without regard to the child’s age.” Thus, it is likely that a health care practitioner would assume capacity to consent as long as the child expressed a willingness to have the vaccine and “appeared” to understand what it was for. In the case of the HPV vaccine the health care practitioner would likely tell the child that it would improve their chances not to get cervical cancer. Given only that information every child would consent.

Similar bills have been introduced at least since 2008.

According to the memo attached to the bill “[t]he Legislature has recognized that it is critical to protecting the health of young people to allow them to seek treatment of sexually transmitted diseases without the consent of their parents or guardians because we know that teens often do not seek parental consent because a request for consent necessarily involves disclosing to parents that the teen has engaged in sexual activity.” This memo goes on to state “Planned Parenthood and several community health centers testified at a Senate hearing two years ago that young women were coming into clinics and centers requesting the HPV vaccine. Yet even though teens may receive family planning counseling and birth control, terminate a pregnancy, and receive treatment for a sexually transmissible disease, in each case without the consent of a parent or guardian, those very teens cannot obtain the HPV vaccine without parental consent.”

This bill is an outright attack on the rights of parents to determine what type of medical treatment their children should or should not receive, or are even ready for. We believe that the legislature should focus on encouraging open relationships between parents and children, not cutting the parent out of an important area in their child's life.

Thank you for your calls on behalf of continued freedom and parental rights in New York.

Sincerely,

Tj Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or to recommend us as we protect and defend the rights of homeschooling families? Join now! >>

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