May 10, 2013
The North Carolina legislature has sent back to the judiciary committee proposed legislation that would exclude under-18 youth from receiving medical and mental health services without written, notarized parental consent. Proponents of H693 aimed to prevent under-age youth from receiving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for pregnancy, abortions, STDs, and HIV, and to place healthcare decisions in parents' hands. Supporters included the N.C. Values Coalition and the North Carolina Family Policy Council.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service providers stated that H693, potentially the most restrictive law in the United States, will prevent teens without a trusted adult in their lives from obtaining needed "mental health or sexual health services." For example, teens would need notarized parental approval to receive counseling from the professionally licensed staff of Time Out Youth, a Charlotte-based LGBT advocacy organization.
Opponents also fear the bill would result in increased incidence of STDs and HIV among youth. According to CDC, HIV incidence increased by 22 percent from 2008 to 2010 among young men ages 13-24 who have sex with men. LGBT Center of Raleigh Executive Director James Miller stated that youth who know they are infected with HIV or STDs are less likely to engage in risky behavior. He feared the bill would prevent youth from accessing competent medical care.
The North Carolina AIDS Action Network and the North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers have urged citizens to contact their legislators and voice their opposition to H693.