April 21, 2011
If a new Republican-backed proposal passes the Legislature, Minnesota would become the only state to prevent minors from seeking STD services without parental approval, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) is sponsoring the measure, which would require parental consent for minors seeking treatment for STDs, pregnancy, or drug or alcohol abuse. The state's current, 40-year-old law prevents doctors from disclosing medical information to parents unless the patient agrees or the condition is life-threatening. Under the proposal, parents could also access their children's medical records.
"It seems if you talk to any parent, most would assume they have the right to know about the medical condition of their child," said Hann. "I think it's a surprise to find out that we don't."
Aggie Leitheiser, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health, said the bill could lead to higher rates of STDs, unintended pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, premature births or other complications, and long-term health problems from untreated conditions -- thereby driving up health care costs.
The bill was approved by a Senate committee but lacks a companion House measure, making passage unlikely.
04.17.2011; Tara Bannow
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