Red State Gov Signs Bill Protecting Parental Rights in Medical Decisions

By Published on March 22, 2024

Gov. Brad Little of Idaho signed a bill Thursday increasing protections for parents when making medical decisions for their children.

The bill passed the state Senate with a 27 to 7 vote, with one abstaining, in February and the state House of Representatives in a 59 to 11 vote in March. The new law, which will take effect on July 1, amends the current Idaho code to protect parents’ ability to obtain medical records for their children and requires healthcare professionals to obtain parental consent before administering treatment to their minor child, or face civil penalties.

“Parents have the fundamental right and duty to make decisions concerning the furnishing of health care services to the minor child,” the bill reads. “Except as otherwise provided by court order, an individual shall not furnish a health care service or solicit to furnish a health care service to a minor child without obtaining the prior consent of the minor child’s parent.”

The law makes a limited exception if a doctor believes the procedure is necessary to “prevent death or imminent, irreparable physical injury to the minor child” or if the doctor has been unable to get a parent’s consent after making a “reasonably diligent effort” and the child’s health is at serious risk.

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Michelle King, president of LC Valley Youth Resource Center in Lewiston, opposed the legislation and warned lawmakers earlier this month it would put minors more at risk, according to the Moscow Pullman Daily News.

“I don’t think we should pass any bills that would make it more difficult for people to access mental health care while we are in a suicide crisis with our youth,” King said.

Jennifer Arzola, one of the supporters of the bill, argued during testimony on the bill that her child had been able to get on cross-sex hormones without her knowledge, according to the Moscow Pullman Daily News. A counselor her child had been seeing also had been “affirming her self-proclaimed gender identity without my knowledge,” Arzola said.

 

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