Joy Sotolongo: Teens lose out

May 8, 2013 

Teens lose out

The N.C. House is considering a bill that would require a notarized signature from parents for teens who seek care for mental health, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy tests or birth control without their parent being present (“State bill strengthens parental control,” May 8 article).

Most parents want to know if their teens need these services. Many parents have strong relationships with their teen and talk about these issues. But not all. And not all teens think they can talk to their parents about sex or depression. Not to mention that many working parents do not have jobs that give time off to go to the doctor with their child or can afford notary fees.

In practice, the vast majority of teens seek these services with their parents, and physicians counsel teens on how to talk to their parents about their health.

No matter how much they would like to, lawmakers cannot mandate that parents have open lines of communication with their teens. If this bill is passed, there are two losers: teens who do not receive the health care they need and citizens of N.C. who will end up paying the costs for services that could have been unneeded.

Joy Sotolongo

Durham

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