Maryland to consider allowing children to be vaccinated without parental consent
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A Maryland state senator has introduced a controversial bill that would give children the same capacity to consent to be vaccinated as an adult – i.e., without parental consent. Democratic State Sen. Cheryl Kagan introduced Bill 378 on Wednesday; the proposed legislation will go before a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on February 22.
Titled Public Health – Vaccinations – Minor Consent, Bill 378 provides: “For the purpose of providing that minors of at least a certain age have the same capacity as an adult to consent to vaccination; authorizing minors under a certain age to consent to vaccination under certain circumstances; providing that the capacity to consent does not include the capacity to refuse vaccination for which a parent or guardian has given consent; and generally relating to vaccination of minors.”
Under the terms of the bill, minors aged 14 and over will have the same capacity to consent to vaccination as an adult: parental consent would not be required for the vaccination.
Moreover, the bill would allow minors under the age of 14 and minors who are developmentally disabled or unemancipated to consent to be vaccinated without parental authorization, provided the pertinent healthcare provider considers the minor capable of giving the consent.
At the same time, the minor may not refuse to be vaccinated if a parent or guardian has authorized the vaccination.
The move has alarmed critics who assert the bill is vaguely worded and apparently would allow any type of vaccination at all. Critics note the bill provides no guardrails to protect children who have not developed critical thinking skills from making rash decisions against their interests. In particular, critics say, the bill can very easily be abused to manipulate and deceive children into being vaccinated without their parents’ or guardians’ knowledge.
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