New bill would require parental permission for STD testing

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- A new bill being considered in the legislature would require parental permission for minors wanting STD treatment and testing, abortion help, mental health counseling, pregnancy care or substance abuse treatment from a doctor or health clinic.

Currently, minors can seek pregnancy advice, several medical tests, and some procedures without parental permission.

Those in favor of the bill say it's about parental rights and making sure parents are involved in these decisions. Those against say it would lower the rate of many necessary medical tests and raise rates of STDs and risky pregnancies.

"It's hard enough for anybody to walk into a health department or clinic or anything and openly say I need an STD test.  Adding another layer to it, that they have to tell parent's first alarms me," said Jesse Duncan with Winston-Salem's Aids Care Service.

The North Carolina Aids Action Network agrees saying 1 in 5 new cases of HIV in our state are among young men between the ages of 13 and 24. NCAAN says teens need confidential sources or infection rates will go up.

Representative Chris Whitmire, (R) Polk-Henderson-Transylvania, one of 4 bill sponsors says, "it's as much a parental rights bill as it is to ensure that the proper family figure is there to be an advocate for the child."

Whitmire says parents should not be excluded but rather made aware so they can help teens make what he calls healthy decisions.

The bill does have exemptions in some situations like incest. Some teens could seek help from a court appointed guardian. The bill also does not supersede Federally funded clinics which do allow teens to have similar procedures without parental consent.

House Bill 693 will be considered by the State House Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday.

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