Well...North Carolina is at it again...
Just recently, the state's committee (of course Republican controlled) approved a bill that mandates teenagers to have a notarized parental consent to receive STD testing/treatment, pregnancy care, mental health services, and/or substance abuse treatment. Pretty fucked up huh? What makes it worse is that those youth who do not have such documents from their parents have to sit in front of a judge and request a bypass in order to receive these services. REALLY? WTF?
In a time when Russia is actively attacking and arresting pro-gay activists (AND tourists) and Greece allowing police to retain and force anyone into HIV testing (then later publish such information and support land lords evicting HIV+ individuals due to being public health risks), this infuriates me to no end. I want to scream at the governing body of North Carolina and scream, "Why create barriers to health and treatment for youth who are disproportionately at risk for HIV and other concerns nationwide?"
Well, the North Carolina STD testing bill was supported by members of the Republican controlled committee by saying that this ensures that parents will be informed about their child's behavior and allow them the ability to address such issues together. Again, really? It is my opinion that majority of these teenagers are engaging in such behaviors because their parents DON'T care, that they DON'T have health relationships with parental figures, and that they DON'T want to discuss their behaviors. As many opponents to the bill have stated, the North Carolina STD testing bill can bring about further harm and danger to some youth due to having to get a notarized note from a bank or local notary and talking to parents about their private lives. What also really concerns me about this system is the concern that some of these teens might be in abusive households. What if their depression/anxiety, suicidality, and/or sexual risk is actually being directly created by the parent? Yes, I did question if the sexual risk is being caused by the parent because we all know that this world is pretty ugly and nasty. If the teen is being sexually assaulted by the parent and needs their permission for pregnancy and/or STD treatment, what do you think is going to happen? Apparently, North Carolina doesn't give a shit!
In opposition to the bill, Paige Johnson (VP of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina) stated, "Here's the bottom line...Everybody wants teenagers to talk to their parents, but public policy is not based on IDEAL families...what if there's something happening in the home, some kind of abuse going on? If teenagers can't talk to their parents for whatever reason about their pregnancy or their STD or their substance abuse, they need to be able to access professional care." Well said!
It makes me so sad to think that some parents might be limiting their own child's access to care and treatment. To be brutally honest, this is only going to increase the amount of teenage pregnancy and STD rates that are already a joke in the southern states.
However...as I wrote this...I am needing to update this with current information gathered today on 7/30/2013.
According to records, the North Carolina STD testing bill has been pushed to the side. After almost a week or so of support from the Republican controlled committee, they have realized that maybe this might not be the best thing for the state. The sad part is that even though this bill has been pushed to the side, and hopefully will never resurface, it still passed the Health and Human Services Committee!!! Really?! The Health and Human Services Committee?! Wow, North Carolina, you are fucked up!