When children or teenagers have a medical emergency, their parents may not be immediately available to approve care. But according to the Charlotte Observer, North Carolina House Republicans are advancing dangerous new legislation that could delay the delivery of emergency care by requiring parental consent before teenagers "could receive birth control or be treated for sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse or mental illness."
But the text of HB 693 reveals even more damaging implications than the Observer's report identifies. The bill would make it illegal for doctors and hospitals to provide "services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of (i) sexually transmitted diseases, including Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, (ii) abuse of controlled substances or alcohol, (iii) mental illness, or (iv) pregnancy." And the re-written medical emergency exemption only applies if "a medical emergency exists that so complicates the pregnancy as to require an immediate abortion or the immediate provision of health care services." [emphasis added]
In other words: Hospitals could no longer even diagnose some potentially life-threatening diseases without a parent's consent. Pregnancy tests without a parent's consent could no longer be administered simply to avoid the catastrophic birth defects associated with some medications. And medical emergency exceptions for HIV/AIDS, drug or alcohol overdose, and many other life-threatening conditions would not apply to boys or non-pregnant girls. (Even if a patient were pregnant, how could a doctor legally make that determination, since "diagnosis" of a pregnancy would be illegal while her parents are out of touch?)