A Virginia house of delegates committee narrowly voted down a bill last week that would have required public health clinics to notify the parents of minors requesting contraception, pregnancy tests, or counseling and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, The [Norfolk] Virginian-Pilot reports. The bill, backed by Republicans, failed on an 11-10 vote. The measure would have augmented the state's parental notification law to require employees of public health clinics to inform parents when minors sought services related to sexually transmitted diseases, illegal drug use, "promiscuous sexual behavior," and mental illness, including having depression or suicidal thoughts.
"Mandatory parental notification is not good public health practice," said Casey Riley, director of the Virginia Department of Health's HIV/STD division. "What you're going to do is drive these kids away. If they're infected, they could develop complications. They also continue to transmit the disease."