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AB 816: Minors Consent to Medical Care

Status: On third reading file waiting for a vote in the Senate

Action: Call your Senator TODAY!

Bill: AB 816 – Minors Consent to Medical Care

Author: Haney (D)- SF

Position: Strongly OPPOSE

Current Status

AB 816 is in the third reading file waiting to be read and voted on, it has not been voted on or amended since February and is going slow.

Summary of Concern

A bill like this would authorize a minor who is 16 years or older to consent to the replacement narcotic abuse treatment that uses buprenorphine without the parent or guardian’s consent. Existing law allows 12 and older to consent to medical treatment and counseling for drug- or alcohol-related problems. This bill does not change far from Section 6929 of the Family Code which relates to the treatment and counseling for minors older than a specified age. This bill amends subsection (e) to add the additional 16 or older consent to buprenorphine after already including the previous 12 and older language mentioned above.

This bill would essentially lower the age of what we consider an “adult” who is able and legally allowed to make their own choices. Medical decisions also can have very weighty consequences and a child should not be encouraged to make those on their own. A bill that pushes parents aside like this is the beginning of the family structure falling apart and children to become self-governed, which seems to be the prerogative of the state these days.

Additional Information

Unfortunately a similar bill is being pushed as well, AB 665: would require professionals dealing with the treatment or counseling of the minor to consult with the minor before involving the parent or guardian. This bill would provide any minor 12 or older to consent to care without the parents’ foreknowledge. Existing law does authorize a minor 12 and older to receive mental health services under specified conditions, but would amend Section 6924 of the Family Code (from whom, what kind of, and where a minor can receive mental health services).