Teenage girls will be able to continue to get birth control in Arizona without a parent’s consent. House Majority Leader Steve Tully, R-Phoenix, said Wednesday he is scrapping his legislation which would have made it illegal for a doctor to prescribe any medication to anyone younger than 18 without the specific OK of a parent or guardian.
Tully said there are too many conflicting stories about exactly what doctors do now — or even what they are legally required to do.
Tully’s decision pleased Charlotte Harrison, executive director of the Arizona Family Planning Council. She said passage of the measure would have deterred some teens from getting not just birth control but also treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
But the reprieve may be only temporary: Tully may try to have the issue studied over the summer with an eye on recommendations for next session.
Tully also said he was disappointed that the debate over HB2707 had been reduced to the question of birth control. But Tully conceded one reason that happened is because he introduced the measure in the first place following a complaint from a single father who learned his daughter was using birth control pills.
“He didn’t understand how someone could give his daughter prescription medications without his knowing this is going on,’’ Tully said.
He said, though, there is a much larger issue. Tully, the father of four girls, questioned whether teens should be able to get prescription medication from a doctor — possibly one who has not known the child for any length of time — without parental consent. That, he said, is why his legislation was crafted to make it illegal to write any prescription for any minor without a parent’s approval.
He got the measure through the House Health Committee on a 6-3 vote. But as Tully prepared to take the issue to the House floor he said he received conflicting information on exactly what doctors do now.
For example, he said children sometimes are dropped off at a doctor’s office for an appointment by a relative or friend, with no parent present during an examination and subsequent medication order.
Harrison said state law generally does require parental consent for any medical treatment, including prescriptions.
But she said this legislation would have overridden other laws which say doctors can prescribe treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.