Protecting Adolescents’ Right to Seek Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases without Parental Consent: The Arizona Experience with Senate Bill 1309


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Abstract

In 2010, Senate Bill 1309 included language to repeal an existing Arizona law that enables minors younger than 18 years of age to seek diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) without parental consent. Numerous implications were identified that would have stemmed from parental consent provisions originally proffered in Senate Bill 1309. These implications included diminished access to essential health services among minors, exacerbated existing health disparities, increased health-care spending costs, and thwarted efforts to curb the spread of STDs. Lastly, minors would have been deprived of existing privacy protections concerning their STD-related medical information. This case study describes how collaborative advocacy efforts resulted in the successful amendment of Senate Bill 1309 to avert the negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes among adolescents stemming from the potential repeal of their existing legal right to seek STD treatment without parental consent.

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