I did a review of HB1454: Requiring parental consent for medical procedures and medications provided to minors
The previous reviewer marked it as pro-liberty (I think it was near a +20). On my review, it ended up being a -12. (Also, I noticed when I submitted my review notes, the previous reviewer's note no longer displays; I recall that being different).
Therefore, I suggest some discussion of the bill is warranted. Here are the following items from my review (after pasting it here, I've fixed a few things)...Summary
Creating a new crime of providing medical care to a minor without parental consent.Pro-Liberty
-Minors are able to make informed decisions about their lives every day, and every choice they make does not require the consent of their parents or guardians. Medical choices are no exception, especially as legal minors emerge from pre-adolesence. Legally, age alone does not preclude a minor from consenting to medical care. This bill effectively destroys existing rights currently held by legal minors.
-If a minor consents to a medical procedure, yet the parent or guardian disagrees, the controversy exists between them: it is a family matter. Their disagreement should not be the basis for a criminal action by the state against a third-party.
-If a parent is aggrieved because of harm or threat of harm caused to his or her child (where the child is not consenting, regardless of capacity), the judicial system already has systems to address those complaints. There is no need to create a new criminal action. Existing civil and criminal procedures are more than sufficient.
-The bill requires that any consent must in writing. If parent A gives parent B consent to administer medication over the phone, it is still a criminal offense against the peace and dignity of the state.
-The bill completely fails the "common sense" test: a person providing a minor child an aspirin, tylenol, antacid tablet, removing a splinter, cleaning, disinfecting, covering a cut with a band-aid, or providing an ice pack for a bruise would be guilty of the misdemeanor this bill creates.
-The "medical emergency" exception only
applies to physicians. For example, if a bee stings your child, he starts to have a severe allergic reaction, but I administer Benadryl and his life is saved, I (not a physician) am still guilty of a misdemeanor created by this bill.
-The judicial procedures enacted by this bill are time-consuming and costly to taxpayers.
---> The bill requires that minors have 24/7 access to a judge (and the appellate courts). Completely unprecedented and incredibly expensive.
---> The bill requires that minors are entitled to a court-appointed legal counsel (e.g. force an attorney to intervene in a family matter). Additionally, a guardian ad litem
may be appointed at taxpayer expense.
---> Each case will very easily cost taxpayers over $6,000 and most likely go well over that.
---> That cost does not include the cost of any appeals.
---> It does not include the additional cost of criminally prosecuting someone who breaks the law.
-Minors will be unlikely to know how to meaningfully initiate the judicial bypass process.
-The bill requires these proceedings and appeals receive priority over other matters. Each hearing is expected to take 1 full day of court-time. If just 10 exceptions are requested each year, that's a minimum of 80 judge-hours lost for single matter. This will cause extreme cost and disruption to each court's docket; a less conservative estimate of the number of cases (est. 40) would cripple a single court's docket completely.
-This bill requires court proceedings be confidential. If the issue is to be brought before a public court at public expense, it should and must be a public matter.
-As a matter of course, "judicial bypasses" are routinely granted almost without exception. This bill creates a hurdle that does little more than publicly vindicate (and ultimately ignore) a parent's guardianship at significant taxpayer expense, and discourages parents and their growing children from resolving their disputes privately and amicably.
-As a matter of fiscal soundness, the bill does not state where all these expenses will be paid from. There is no free money in the budget to allocate to this bill.Anti-Liberty
Parents will be unable to control their children's medical care.
---> Parents cannot (nor should they) control their child's acts or bodies in totality as those children grow and accept greater responsibility for their lives. This bill treats minor children like chattel property, and places the power of the state to prosecute crimes behind a displeased parent.
The state will be able to force children to take vaccinations and submit to medical screenings.
--->False. Even children can refuse medical care. Parents can still sue for battery, fraud, coercion, medical malpractice, and other breaches of professional duties on behalf of their children. Allegations of wrong-doing may even rise to a criminal action. Parents can also, for example, seek injunctions against government agencies (e.g. a public school) upon an announcement that the school is going to do an immunization program.Reviewer's Notes
The cost of this bill will be astronomical. The original reviewer suggests restricting abortion is a major motivator for the bill. If true, about 3400 women in New Hampshire will have abortions annually. We don't know what percentage of these people are minors, but suppose it is only 5%. If indeed they carry through on the bypass (which is nearly always granted), the process will cost the taxpayers a bare minimum of $1.7 million annually.