>>Just ask any teenager: parents tend to micromanage their children. You sometimes micromanage your kids, your parents still micromanage you, and 16th century Shakespeare’s fictional families micromanaged their own pigheaded, hormonal teenagers in Romeo and Juliet. A >>new bill in the North Carolina House of Representatives may take micromanaging teens and parenting to a whole new level.
If passed, House Bill 693 would repeal a >>40 year old law allowing teens to seek treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and birth control without parental consent. Minors would need to present a notarized consent form from a parent, district judge, or guardian before obtaining access to basic healthcare services including school guidance counseling, Plan B, and STD tests and treatment. State Representative >>Marilyn Avila says she supports the new bill because the current laws allowing teens unrestricted access to medical care “undermines our families.”
Opponents of the bill, including state Representative Verla Insko, argue that restricting access to vital medical services will undermine teens’ health. They fear that requiring minors to not only get consent, but to notarize the consent form at a local bank or realty will scare teens away from responsibly handling their STDs and mental health issues. This fear is founded in fact. A >>survey by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that teens engage in unprotected sex most often because they want to hide their sexual activity from their parents.
Representative >>Insko recalls the effects of unprotected sex and untreated mental health issues as a result of parental consent laws in the 1970s: “[Teens] were getting sicker; they were spreading venereal disease, in some cases committing suicide, because they could not [or would not] talk to their parents.”
If you think this bill won’t affect you or your family because your teenager would never require access to birth control or STD testing—think again. Over >>70 percent engage in sexual activity by the age of 19. To consent, or not to consent? For the General Assembly, that is the question.