Alabama House passes a bill that mandates parental consent for vaccinating teenagers

On Thursday, the Alabama House of Representatives approved a bill (HB165) sponsored by State Rep. Chip Brown. This legislation entails that doctors, health clinics, or pharmacies must obtain parental consent before administering vaccines to individuals aged 14 to 18.

“House Bill 165 is aimed at protecting parental rights,” emphasized Representative Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island). “Currently, in Alabama, children aged 14 and older can give their own consent for medical treatments, including vaccines, without requiring parental consent. This bill seeks to change that by ensuring that parental consent is mandatory for any vaccine administered in the state of Alabama.”

According to Brown, involving parents in the process allows them to stay informed and have oversight of their child’s medical decisions. This is particularly important in cases where a child may have an adverse reaction to a vaccination received at school, as parents would otherwise be unaware. Brown firmly believes in the importance of parental consent and ensuring that parents are involved in their child’s healthcare.

State Representative Mary Moore, a Democrat from Birmingham, expressed her concern for teenagers seeking to undergo gender transition and emphasized the importance of ensuring their access to hormone shots without requiring parental permission.

Moore expressed concern about the restrictions placed on individuals seeking to transition their gender. “We have already passed several bills limiting gender transition options after the age of 19,” Moore stated. “I believe that individuals should have the freedom to pursue hormone treatments if they wish to align their physical appearance with their gender identity. This bill raised concerns for me regarding those restrictions.”

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Brown made it clear that this legislation specifically focused on vaccines.

According to Brown, the inspiration for this bill stemmed from a school where flu vaccinations were administered to children without notifying their parents or obtaining their consent. Brown emphasizes that there is nothing inherently wrong with giving flu shots to children, but it is crucial to involve parents in the decision-making process. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that children will not receive a flu shot unless their parents have given their explicit consent, ultimately safeguarding parental rights.

Rep. Shane Stringer (R-Satsuma) expressed his appreciation for the proactive approach in notifying parents about their children’s health matters. As a parent of six children himself, he emphasized the importance of being informed and having a say in the vaccinations his children receive. Stringer acknowledged that while vaccinations like flu shots or those related to COVID are not inherently negative, he believes it is crucial for parents to be involved in the decision-making process. He concluded by thanking the initiative for its efforts.

Representative Marilyn Lands, a Democrat from Madison, expressed her opposition to this legislation.

Lands expressed his concerns about the bill, questioning the decision to prioritize vaccines over other medical and mental health services for individuals under the age of consent, which is 14. He believes that these services should continue to fall under the same umbrella.

Brown explained that 41 states currently have a requirement for parental notification regarding vaccines. He emphasized that this legislation is not anti-vaccine, but rather aims to ensure that parents are informed about their child’s vaccination status. As a parent himself, Brown expressed his personal desire to be notified if his child receives any type of vaccine. He also expressed his frustration with the fact that the existing legislation from 1975 does not include a provision for parental notification, which he finds insulting.

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Alabama lawmakers have approved a bill aimed at addressing the issue of squatting on private property. The bill serves as a response to the increasing problem of individuals occupying someone else’s property without permission. By passing this legislation, Alabama hopes to provide property owners with stronger legal protections and mechanisms to reclaim their property.

Lands acknowledged the concerns raised and showed respect for them. He shared his particular worry regarding the HPV vaccine, highlighting situations where a child may want to receive the vaccine despite their father being the rapist. Lands emphasized the importance of allowing children to have the ability to give consent in certain cases.

“I believe that we are excessively exerting government control,” Lands stated. “There are families where a child may want to receive a vaccine without involving their parents, and they have valid reasons for making such a choice. It is crucial to safeguard the well-being of these children. The potential unintended repercussions of this measure could have severe consequences for many young individuals. I implore you to reject this excessive interference by the government.”

The bill was adopted by the House in the form of a committee substitute.

According to Brown, the sub made provisions for children who are unemancipated minors and may not live in a traditional home setting. This includes children living with grandparents or on their own. The sub aimed to address the specific needs of these children.

Rep. Brett Easterbrook (R-Chatom) expressed gratitude for introducing the bill while stating his opposition to it. He argued that administering vaccines to children without parental consent constitutes government overreach. Easterbrook emphasized that this issue is not related to rapists and that there is no vaccine for rape. He also highlighted that individuals are still obligated to report cases of rape and abuse. According to Easterbrook, the government should not have the authority to decide which vaccines a child should receive, as he perceives it as an example of government overreach.

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House Bill 165 was passed by the House with a bipartisan vote of 81 to 17. The bill will now move on to the Alabama Senate for their review and consideration. This significant development comes during the 25th day of the ongoing 2024 state legislative session.

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