SB 172 parents’ vs. minors’ rights?

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 4:08 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -Prior to this 2023 legislative session State Senator Dallas Harris served on a task force focusing on HIV. The group was charged with examining sexual transmitted diseases and HIV laws in Nevada.

“Current state of the law, you get an STD as a minor, you can go and get treated without your parent’s consent,” says Harris. “If you want to ensure that you do not get a sexually transmitted infection, parental consent is needed.”

To make the law more consistent, Senator Harris introduced Senate Bill 172.

It allows for minors seeking preventative services for pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease to receive that care without a parent’s consent.

“The biggest concern I have with this bill is it takes away parental rights,” says Assemblyman Gregory Koenig who represents District 38. Assemblyman Koenig says he thinks parents should be involved in such decisions involving their minor child.

He says he’s not in favor of the current status of Nevada law which allows minors to receive treatment for sexually transmitted diseases without a parent’s involvement. He says Senate Bill 172 is a step too far.

“That’s the exact time as a parent I would want to know that,” says Koenig. “And maybe we could get together and stop some of this risky behavior beforehand instead of after the fact.”

“Teenagers are already keeping secrets from their parents and it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad parent either, right?” says Senator Harris. “We know children and teenagers are engaging in this type of behavior. I want to make sure they are as safe as possible.”

Harris says this law will not impact children and parents who share such experiences. But it will protect those children who could face serious repercussions from their parents for seeking prevention or treatment for sexual activity.

Koenig says he is a No on SB172 and believes all other Republicans in the Nevada Assembly will vote the same.

With a super majority of Democrats in the assembly though, Harris says she has the votes, and expects her bill to land on the governor’s desks before adjournment.

No word on if SB 172 will receive his signature.