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Illinois House passes bill to allow minors STI prevention starting at 12 without parents

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Thursday, April 11, 2019  |  Article  |  By Cole Lauterbach

Children, Teens (19) , Health (49) Cassidy, Kelly--State House, 14 , Hammond, Norine--State House, 93 , Parkhurst, Lindsay--State House, 79 , Robinson Jr., Lamont--State House, 5
A bill that passed the Illinois House would allow at-risk minors as young as 12 to independently receive and take HIV prevention medication.

The legislation would allow minors as young as 12 to see a doctor and receive contraceptives, including an HIV prevention drug, without notifying or getting consent from a parent.

Sponsoring state Rep. Lamont Robinson Jr. said the bill was designed to help at-risk youth with either abusive parents or no parents at all.

“We’re saving lives here,” he said.

Illinois is one of 22 states that currently allow minors to consent to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, but not preventatively.

State Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, said some were concerned about giving HIV prevention drugs without parental notification or consent.

“We are saying that this behavior is OK because we’re going to have this on the other end,” she said.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said lawmakers can’t ignore that their constituents are sexually active at young ages and Robinson’s bill was a way to make sure they have a chance to prevent HIV.

“We can’t pretend they’re not having sex. We can’t pretend this isn’t happening,” she said.

State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, is an attorney with a history of helping at-risk youth. She said the state can’t argue that minors are responsible enough to take an HIV prophylactic but not be able to decide whether or not to smoke until 21.

The bill, which now awaits consideration in the Senate, has the support of a number of medical groups and civic nonprofits like the ACLU of Illinois.