BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - New York law already allows young people under 18 who contract an STD to be treated without their parents' consent. A bill being considered would make it so they could also ask for preventative medical care, on their own.
Assembly Bill 497 would allow minors under 18 to consent to treatment designed to prevent sexually-transmitted disease, including vaccines. Right now, they also need their parents' consent. Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak originally supported the bill.
MORE | Read the full bill here
"I think the intent is very good, in terms of combatting sexually-transmitted diseases," Gabryszak said.
But he's changed his mind, after an onslaught of concerned calls and emails from his constituents.
"There's some concern over whether or not the vaccine could lead to some other health problems," he explained.
To date, 106 claims reporting adverse reactions to HPV vaccines have been filed with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, including four deaths. Victims were compensated in 49 of those cases.
Health care providers are required to talk about the potentials risks and benefits of treatment, with any patient.
Planned Parenthood CEO Karen Nelson said, "Part of the medical visit is, we talk about informed consent. And so all of [the] options, and all of these things, would be discussed with a patient."
New York already allows minors under 18 to consent to treatment, once they are diagnosed with an STD. This bill would expand that privilege to preventive medicine.
Gabryszak said, "Quite honestly, when you're 11-, 12-years-old... parents need to be involved in those types of decisions."
Nelson noted, "Of course, we would always encourage them to talk to an adult in their life, whether that be a parent or another adult who they can confide in."
For many parents, talking to their children about sexual health can be difficult. You can find resources and help broaching the topic by calling 1-800-230-PLAN or by visiting this website.
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