California Bill Would Allow Vaccines For All STDs Without Parental Consent

A bill passed by the California legislature this month would allow clinicians to vaccinate kids against HPV without their parents consent — and it could apply to other STDs too.

The Star-Telegram reports that the bill, which recently passed both houses of the state legislature, is now before Gov. Jerry Brown. He hasn't yet indicated whether he'll sign it. The bill amends the California Family Code to add the following language: "A minor who is 12 years of age or older may consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease." That means teens could get the HPV vaccines Cervarix or Gardasil without parental consent. But since the bill covers mentions "sexually transmitted disease" generally and not HPV specifically, it could potentially apply to other vaccines that haven't been invented yet. If doctors develop a vaccine for herpes or HIV vaccine (both are the subject of research), then teens could get vaccinated for those without parental consent too.

The law could actually have a pretty broad effect: squeamish parents would no longer be able to stop teens protecting themselves from STDs. Of course, many parents want such protection for their children. But the new law, if passed, would prevent parents who just assume their kids will be abstinent from putting them and their partners in danger.

California Legislature Passes HPV Vaccination Bill [Star-Telegram]