California bill allows minors to seek STD prevention

law SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Heated debate in the Republican presidential race over child vaccinations also is playing out in California as Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown considers whether to a sign a bill allowing children as young as 12 to get vaccinated against sexually transmitted diseases without their parents’ consent.

Religious leaders, pro-family organizations and GOP lawmakers have warned the change would erode the rights of parents to be involved in their children’s medical decisions. Supporters say the legislation is needed to keep up with new prevention treatments and help slow the spread of STDs among minors.

The bill passed the California Legislature along mostly party lines and now is on Brown’s desk. He has until Oct. 9 to act on AB499, and has not signaled his intent.

Currently, California minors are allowed to seek diagnosis and treatment for STDs such as the human papillomavirus, known as HPV, without parental consent but cannot get vaccinated without their parent’s approval. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer.

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