"Parents Right to Know Act"
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), a practicing physician who has delivered nearly 500 babies while serving in Congress, today introduced the "Parents Right to Know Act," legislation that will mandate that parents be notified five business days before contraceptive drugs and prescription devices are distributed to their minor child by Title X clinics. U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) introduced companion legislation in the House.
"As a practicing family physician, and as a member of Congress, I have seen first-hand the painful consequences associated with our federal policy that allows children to make potentially life-changing reproduction decisions without their parent's knowledge. This government-sanctioned veil of secrecy is contributing to a growing sexually-transmitted disease epidemic and encourages unintended teen pregnancies and abortions. Few government policies are more irrational or hostile to the vital relationship between a parent and child," Dr. Coburn said.
"In almost every area of our children's lives strict parental notification standards and laws are in place. For example, as a practicing physician, I am required to receive parental authorization, except in emergency situations, before I can provide any medical care to a child. Our schools require a permission slip from a parent before the school can give their child an aspirin. Yet, at the same time, children can obtain prescription contraceptives at public health clinics without even notifying their parents," Dr. Coburn said.
"Studies show what common sense tells us - parental involvement can help delay or stop risky sexual behavior among our children," Dr. Coburn said. "We owe it to our children to be involved in their lives and provide them with the best medical advice possible. No federal bureaucrat or Title X official should have the authority to usurp a parent's role in an area of their child's life in which one bad decision can have severe and long-lasting emotional and physical consequences. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation that will protect the vital relationship between a parent and child."
More than 70 percent of Americans support parental notification laws according to polls by Gallup, CNN/USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.