Proposed Law Would Leave New York Parents in the Dark About Children’s Health Decisions
Legislation that would limit a parent’s rights when it comes to their child’s immunizations and sexual reproductive health is under consideration by the New York State Assembly.
Assembly Bill 9963 would authorize treatment without parental knowledge or consent if a medical provider believes the child understands the repercussions.
However, the proposal isn’t specific in defining a child’s ability to comprehend.
Specifically, the bill would permit minors alone to consent to medical, dental, health, mental health, and hospital services.
“From a practical perspective, these changes would largely only come into play if and when a minor patient disagrees with their parents about a medical procedure or treatment plan, or in cases where the minor patient is a runaway or a homeless youth,” said Orion Karagiannis, an associate with the Pardalis & Nohavicka Law Firm in New York.
The legislation would also give minors the upper hand in parent–child relationships by requiring parents to request disclosure about their child’s health care through the medical provider or insurer, to which the child may object.
“In light of the growing anti-vaccine movement and recent legal challenges surrounding reproductive health care, many people—citizens and in government—think it’s beneficial to enhance patient protections,” Karagiannis told The Epoch Times.
A cadre of Democratic state Assembly members introduced the proposed legislation amid an ongoing national controversy over the legalities of transitioning gender-dysphoric youths from male to female and female to male.
Although the bill doesn’t single out gender-reassignment procedures, it does generally discuss three types of procedures, including addiction or mental health treatment, reproductive health care, and immunization.
Homeless and runaway youths are given special consideration in the legislation because they have actively taken themselves out of parental custody due to unique circumstances that other children who are still in their parents’ custody don’t face.
If approved, the New York bill could spur other states to eventually enact similar laws. But the changes to patient protections could face a constitutional challenge in a court of law.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has historically deferred to parental authority over minors, but there’s also been what appears to be a green light from the Supreme Court that the states can make their own state-by-state determinations of where parental rights begin and end,” Karagiannis said.
AB 9963 is currently pending in the state Assembly’s health committee.