A bill before the California legislature would give permission for teens to keep secrets from their parents with regard to vaccinations and other treatment.
California’s Catholic bishops are urging Catholics to contact their state senators immediately and tell them to vote no on a bill that could come up for consideration as early as today.
AB 499, sponsored by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, would permit children 12 years old and up to bypass their parents and agree to vaccinations and other means to prevent them from being infected by a sexually-transmitted disease.
The bill has already passed the state Assembly and has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee. An ‘Action Alert’ on behalf of the bishops emailed on Friday, June 24, by the Catholic Legislative Network says the measure “will be on the floor of the California Senate in the next few days — the last hurdle before the Governor’s desk. If you have not already taken action on the alert sent out earlier in the week, please consider doing so now.”
The senate calendar indicates the measure could come up for a final reading as early as today.
“The bill would allow children aged 12-18, access to the HPV vaccine Gardasil without their parents’ knowledge or permission,” said the bishops’ alert. “The bill is an unfortunate — but not unforeseen – continuation of California’s trend to diminish parental rights and give teenagers ‘permission’ to keep secrets from their parents.”
“This trend,” said the action alert, “presupposes that because a few parents cannot be trusted, all parents cannot be trusted. Existing law already allows minors 12 and older to consent to medical treatment without their parents’ knowledge, consent or liability for payment on the following: Treatment of pregnancy — including abortion; Contagious or communicable disease; Prevention of pregnancy; Treatment for rape; Drug or alcohol-related problems”.
“Contrary to media reports — which emphasize exceptions and highlight tragedies — most families put the well-being of their young children foremost,” said the alert from the bishops. “Urging teens to engage in behavior that is designed to be kept hidden from their parents may cause irreparable harm to the parent-child relationship.”