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House cuts teen medical privacy: 'This is why we don't allow children to have rights'

Representative Barbara Ehardt wearing a black blazer and debating on the Idaho House floor.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio
Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls) told lawmakers "This is why we don't allow children to have rights" as she urged them to require parental consent for all medical and mental healthcare treatments for children.

Gov. Brad Little could have the final say over a bill requiring parents have access to their teenagers’ medical records.

Right now, children 14 or older must give permission to a healthcare provider to release their medical records – even to their parents – in most circumstances.

Rep. Barbara Ehardt’s (R-Idaho Falls) bill would override that law and require parental consent for all treatment aside from emergencies, or if a parent is legally separated from their child by a court order.

Ehardt said parents are most equipped to understand the consequences of medical treatments for their kids.

“This is why we don’t allow children to have rights, honestly,” she said. “We don’t give them rights, typically, because they’re not capable of backing the rights up with responsibility.”

The bill would also apply to mental health therapy.

Rep. Clay Handy (R-Burley) said this puts parents back in the driver’s seat when it comes to their children’s health care.

“A lot of really good parents have lost the ability to be involved in their children’s lives during teenage years when they make the most critical decisions,” Handy said.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise), said kids will just go without treatment in many cases.

“They’re not going to seek any help if they know that that help is going to result in them essentially being ratted out in a situation where they don’t feel comfortable having that conversation,” Rubel said.

State senators already passed the bill, which now goes to Gov. Brad Little for consideration.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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