North Carolina Bill Would Severely Limit Teen Access to Pregnancy, STD Care

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NC CapitolA bill recently proposed in the North Carolina House of Representatives would place tight restrictions on access to a number of services for minors, including health care related to pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and infections and even substance abuse.

Introduced by Rep. Chris Whitmire, a Republican representing the state’s 113th District, House Bill 693 would require all individuals in North Carolina 18 and younger to obtain notarized parental consent before obtaining services including, abortions, AIDS testing and treatment, alcohol or drug counseling and mental health care.

While certain exemptions exist under the proposal, if passed, the bill would create far and away the nation’s strictest health care law pertaining to adolescents and teenagers.

In an interview with WLOS.com, Buncombe County Health Director Gibbie Harris said the proposed legislation could have a severely detrimental effect on Title X Family Planning funding across the state.

“That federal program is very specific about what you can and can’t do in terms of barriers to care, and they would consider this [bill] a barrier to care,” she said. “From my perspective, a bill that completely cuts off the availability of that care, without doing anything else to fix the problem is only going to make the problem worse.”

The bill, however, faces an uncertain future in the state Legislature -- after being approved by a 14-8 vote in the state’s House Health and Human Services Committee last week, HB 693 was withdrawn and referred to the state’s Commission on the Judiciary later in the week.

Photo courtesy of Daderot