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Bill Would Give Teens Power to Seek Preventive Care for STDs

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(Sacramento, CA)
Sunday, September 18, 2011

California law allows minors twelve and older to consent to their own treatment with regard to pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

But Assemblymember Toni Atkins says there's a gap in the law when it comes to prevention.

ATKINS: When you see the numbers of sexually transmitted disease and the incident of HIV infections in young people aged 10-17, it's a alarming.

If the bill is signed into law, adolescents 12 and older would be able to receive the HPV vaccine and an HIV exposure medication without parental consent.

But that raises concerns for Michelle Gutierrez.

The Sacramento mother worries about the vaccine, and about the prospect that she might not be involved in her child's health care decisions.

GUITIERREZ: It's my child, and my rights shouldn't be taken from me. I should be raising my child not the government.

The bill has overwhelming support from women's group and health associations.

A handful of Catholic and right to life groups are opposed to the bill.

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