If it gets to debate, expect it to be controversial—teenage girls in Utah could get contraceptives from doctors, in some cases without parents knowing about it, under a new bill at the state Capitol.
H.B. 254 would allow “health care providers” to provide contraceptives, minus parental notice, if they determine “that it would be detrimental to the health of the minor to withhold contraceptives until parental consent can be obtained.”
Sponsor Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, a physician, said it would apply in instances where parents can’t or won’t engage in medical decisions for their kids.
"I talked to a young girl, who had a dad as a drug dealer as she was growing up and was unable to get contraception until too late,” said Ward, “because her dad had no interest in coming in and helping her, and her mom had passed away."
Ward maintained medical studies support his view, but acknowledged polar camps exist over the plan—some strongly in favor, some strongly opposed.
“A girl can't go get her ears pierced, a boy nowadays can't get their ears pierced without parental permission,” said Gayle Ruzicka, president of Utah’s Eagle Forum. “And we want to give them medicine? And if we're giving them that medicine, we must be encouraging them to use it."
Ruzicka called the proposal “ridiculous.”
Current state law requires any person “before providing contraceptives to a minor, shall notify parents or guardian.”
2News asked a legislative leader about his thoughts on the proposal, and he replied, “I don’t think it gets very far.”