Monday, March 29, 2010

Arizona, get ready to see a rise in teen pregnancies and STD rates!

I, for one, cannot image a faster way to increase teen pregnancy and teen STD rates than to do the following: require parental notification for sex education classes, for birth control and for treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Can you?

Yet, that's just what the state Senate in Arizona has agreed needs to happen.

Last Monday, the state Senate voted to approve the "Parents' Bill of Rights," SB 1309. It now moves to the House. Let's just look at what the actual bill says:

On sex education:
Provision 10: Requires the policy developed and adopted by school district governing boards to promote the involvement of parents and guardians to include:
b) procedures to prohibit a school district from providing sex education instruction to a pupil unless the pupil’s parent provides written permission for the child to participate in the curricula

Provision 11: Requires the policy to also include procedures by which parents may learn about parental rights and responsibilities under Arizona law, including a summary and a brief description of each of the following:
f) the right to opt out of instruction on AIDS

On STDs:
Provision 20: Eliminates the ability of a minor to obtain treatment for a venereal disease without a parent’s consent.

On birth control (or any prescribed medication):
Provision 14: Prohibits, except as permitted by statute or federal law, a health professional who is authorized by law to write medical prescriptions from writing a prescription order for a person under the age of 18 unless any of the following applies:
a) the health professional has secured the written consent of at least one of the minor’s parents, foster parents or legal custodians, unless a parent does not have the right to consent due to a court order;
b) the health professional has secured verbal consent in person or through telemedicine from at least one of the minor’s parents, foster parents or legal custodians, unless a parent does not have the right to consent due to a court order;
c) the minor is emancipated; or
d) the health professional is acting pursuant to a court order.

So there you go. Your parent(s)/guardian(s) has to give you, the teenager, permission to take sex ed (where you might learn about topics such as birth control and STDs and AIDS), to get birth control pills, and to get treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.

Way to go, Arizona state Senate. You may soon learn something the rest of us already know: You can't force kids to tell their parents they're having sex. You just can't. You may also learn that kids are going to have sex no matter what you do to stop them. No, not every single kid. But some. No. Matter. What.

So, Arizona, all you've done is made it easier for teens to prevent pregnancy and spread STDs. Congratulations! Your state already comes in at No. 3 (out of 50!) with the highest teen pregnancy rate, just behind New Mexico and Nevada. (Guttmacher, PDF) I bet with this legislation, you can become No. 1!

Now, you might be asking yourself, what about situations like incest? Well, I'll let two state Senators explain that for you:
Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, said the measure would require a teen who is the victim of incest to get consent for treatment of a sexually transmitted disease from the parent who assaulted her in the first place.

But Sen. David Braswell, R-Phoenix, said the state should not be setting policy based on a small percentage of "bad'' parents. "The majority of parents are loving, understanding, caring advocates on behalf of their children,'' he said.
See how easy that is? You can totally ignore the fact that bad things happen, and just create legislation for "good" people! I mean, isn't that really the basis of this legislation? Cause if you have "good" kids, none of this matters anyway, so you don't even have to worry about it! "Good" kids don't do things like want to learn about sex, let alone have sex, so they don't need to take birth control or get treated for an STD anyway.

I have no idea if this will make it through the state House, but fingers crossed it doesn't.

(FYI, the bill includes many other things, including mental health screenings. You might want to read the whole bill to get the full picture.)

(And P.S. The Arizona state Senate also passed a bill Monday "to strengthen reporting requirements on abortions." You know, just for statistical purposes.)

1 comment:

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