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May 14, 2024 Toxic Exposures News

Toxic Exposures

Huge Victory! New York Lawmaker Withdraws Minor Consent Bill Days After Opponents Hold Rally, Send Letters

New York State Senator Rachel May withdrew Senate Bill S8352, which would have allowed children to receive vaccines, drugs and surgical procedures without parental consent. The move comes after months of advocacy by health freedom groups like Teachers for Choice, Autism Action Network and Children’s Health Defense.

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Health freedom groups are celebrating the withdrawal of New York’s proposed minor consent law, Senate Bill S8352.

The bill would have allowed children of any age to receive vaccines, drugs, dental and surgical procedures — even be hospitalized — without parental consent.

Sen. Rachel May, the bill’s sponsor, moved to withdraw or “strike” it on May 10, which removed it from the Senate docket, according to Michael Kane, founder of Teachers for Choice.

“The bill is gone — dead!” Kane told The Defender. “This only happened because New Yorkers followed Teachers for Choice, Autism Action Network and Children’s Health Defense [CHD].”

Reacting to the news, CHD CEO Mary Holland said:

“Parents and guardians across New York State can breathe huge sighs of relief that the state will not pass a foolish and dangerous law to allow children of any age to make medical decisions without parental knowledge or consent.”

Bill A6761, an identical proposal, remains in play in the New York State Assembly. But without the companion Senate bill it can’t proceed, according to John Gilmore, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Autism Action Network.

“A6761 is now a ‘one house bill’ which could still be passed by the Assembly, but without an identical bill in the Senate, it has no chance of becoming law,” Gilmore told The Defender.

Despite this victory, health freedom advocates will still need to work to stop the passage of similar bills, Gilmore said. “A big component of that will be pressuring the [bill’s] supporters to explain why they think children now have better judgment than parents when it comes to medical decisions.”

Kane also warned that the bill could resurface. “We are certain we will see this bill again in January of 2025, with nicer wording to be ‘sold’ to the lawmakers and the public,” he wrote on his Teachers for Choice Substack.

‘Medical freedom is recognized as a voting bloc in New York’

May’s withdrawal of S8352 comes after months of advocacy by a broad coalition of health freedom groups — and only days after the May 7 rally on the steps of the capitol building in Albany, which CHD.TV carried live.

Holland appeared at the rally, highlighting CHD’s legal victories against the New York City COVID-19 testing mandate and masking and vaccine mandates in New York and other states.

“This idea that they can have children make medical decisions paid for by the state without their parents’ knowledge or consent is outrageous,” she said.

Urging the protesters to “stand firm and to push back,” Holland said, “What happens in New York is definitely going to matter in D.C.”

On April 30, CHD attorneys sent letters to the New York State Senate and Assembly “detailing the bill’s many flaws,” CHD General Counsel Kim Mack Rosenberg told The Defender. Central among those flaws are the proposed law’s unconstitutionality and illegality under both federal and state law, the letters argued.

“These bills not only cut parents out of the decision-making process but also block a parent’s access to medical information about services to which their child purportedly ‘consented,’” the letters stated. “The parent would literally have no idea what happened to his child.”

Calling CHD’s legal brief “amazing,” Gilmore said it “completely dismantled S8352 and made it clear that they would be in court immediately if the legislature was silly enough to pass the bill.”

Holland, Gilmore and Kane all admitted to not knowing why May withdrew the Senate bill, but credited the rally, letters and public outreach for making a difference.

“CHD is proud to have contributed to this common-sense victory in Albany,” Holland said.

Kane acknowledged the many people who called, emailed and met with lawmakers. “They listened to us and educated their lawmakers,” he said. “Medical freedom is recognized as a voting bloc in New York and throughout the entire country!”

Other groups at the May 7 rally included My Kids My Choice, Strongest for Choice, Bravest for Choice, Uniting NYS, Restoring Childhood, Cops 4 Freedom, Finest for Choice, Medical Professionals for Informed Consent, Coalition to Project Kids NY, Frederick Douglas Foundation and Progressive Action.

Attorneys Tricia Lindsay and Bobbie Anne Cox, James Lyons-Weiler, Ph.D., of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge and Shannon Joy of “The Shannon Joy Show” also spoke at the rally.

On today’s episode of “Good Morning, CHD,” Kane mentioned news of the Albany minor consent bill victory and shared a brief video compilation of rally speech excerpts and post-rally interviews.

CHD also sent letters to the New York lawmakers advising them to reject two other bills. Bills A276B/S762A would allow minors to consent without parental knowledge to treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Bills A7154/S1531 would mandate reporting of all vaccinations to a central registry, violating medical privacy and physician-patient confidentiality.

“Given other bills currently pending in New York and the general atmosphere in Albany, we must continue to remain vigilant to protect parental rights and children’s health,” Mack Rosenberg said.

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‘I look forward to seeing them defend that to the voters’

Bills A6761/S8352, which The Defender reported on in February, would allow New York minors under 18 to consent to medical treatment without parental knowledge or approval, as long as the child demonstrates sufficient capacity to choose.

Minors under 16 could, under certain circumstances, receive psychotropic drugs or psychotherapy without parental consent.

The bill would also allow Medicaid funds to pay for all procedures and drugs consented to by minor children.

Supporters like the American Civil Liberties Union of New York claimed the bill would ensure all youth have access to necessary healthcare. However, critics like Gilmore called it “dangerous.”

“The proponents of this bill came to the conclusion that a child is presumed to have better judgment than the parent to the point that the parent’s judgment is completely irrelevant and unnecessary,” Gilmore told The Defender.

There is disagreement over the legislation’s scope. The “active summary” on the New York State Assembly website states it applies to “homeless youth” seeking “certain … services,” but the actual text indicates it covers all minors who comprehend the risks and benefits. Gilmore claimed this summary was “deliberately misleading.”

The bill does not clearly define “minor” or how medical providers would assess a child’s capacity to comprehend or consent. Some sections suggest even infants could theoretically withhold medical information from parents.

“[Legislators] think parents need to be removed from their children’s medical decisions,” Gilmore said. “I look forward to seeing them defend that to the voters.”

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