San Diego Union-Tribune (10.10.11) - Tuesday, November 08,
California Assembly member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) says a
new law giving children 12 and older the right to obtain
preventive STD treatment without parental consent helps close
a health care loophole.
"They are already able to get diagnosis and treatment, but
they have not been able to get preventive treatment," Atkins
said of minors. "This closes that gap so that practitioners
who are already seeing people in their clinics and doctors'
offices can address these issues with their clients." Atkins
sponsored the bill.
Kris Calvin, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics in
California, said AB 499 will "most certainly save lives." "The
ability to consent to the [human papillomavirus] vaccine,
which prevents certain types of cancer, or to obtain
preventive care for HIV within 72 hours after exposure, are
now possible for a teen under AB 499," Calvin added.
Critics of AB 499 say it does not adequately address the issue
of vaccination safety. "[Vaccines] come with risks, and I
don't think a 12-year-old has the critical-thinking skills in
order to assess the risk-benefit analysis," said Becky Estepp,
a Poway resident and parent, and the director of
communications for the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law
and Advocacy. She worries that the law transfers authority
from parents to the state.