A parent's decision

You’d think it would be common sense. If a child needs prescription drugs, parents must give their permission to schools, hospitals and camps. That works for aspirin, but not birth control.

According to Maine law, a physician may give out birth control prescriptions to students if that health care professional determines that the student will “suffer” if she does not get the pill. Mainers saw that scenario play out at the King Middle School in Portland in 2007.

This week parents can say “no” to this travesty of their rights.

LD 31, “An Act To Protect the Safety of Maine Children by Requiring the Express Consent of a Legal Guardian To Dispense Prescription Medication to a Minor” is getting a public hearing on March 23.

I hope that the Legislature understands that many parents want to determine health services for their children. The state should not be making such decisions.

It’s just common sense.

Debra Wagner, Lisbon Falls

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



Steve  Dosh's picture

A parent's decision

Councilman Reed ,
Correct ?  It's a very common U S State law , not a condition •
Same sex marriage is a law in some places , too , like VT ?
Religion is not a law
h t h . /s, Dr Dosh , Hawai'i

Sarah LaPierre's picture

I really think that laws such

I really think that laws such as these...aimed at allowing teens and even younger girls, to obtain birth control or abortions without parental consent, are not there to take parents' rights for decision-making away, but rather to protect those girls who are in abusive situations...whether with a partner or a male family member. Really, should a 13 year old little girl who is being raped by her father (uncle, cousin, brother, step-father, etc) have to ask permission from this man to obtain birth control? What if she gets pregnant? Should she have to seek his permission to get an abortion? That would be cruel, sick and indefensible...not to mention putting the victim even further under her abuser's control.
I hope that when the time comes that my daughters will talk to me, seek me out for advice and help, but I also know that not every parent is as open to hearing that their daughters are having (or might have) sex as I am. Whether because they are neglectful, or willfully ignoring the situation, it doesn't matter. Women (and girls) have the right to protect themselves and make choices concerning their reproduction. Young women should be empowered to make those choices when the people who should be caring for them can't or won't.

Mark Wrenn's picture


Not all parents have their kids' best interests in mind. Some are just a little to full of "faith". If you deny a kid in need birth control, they won't have sex. Much like leaving your umbrella at home prevents rain.

Steve Bulger's picture

Not your concern, Lil.

Unless and until any action(s) by minor children or their parents affect your "life, liberty or pursuit of happiness", it's none of your business.

Jason Theriault's picture

It does

You want to bet that a majority of teens who get pregnant end up on MaineCare?

Steve Bulger's picture

Well, Jason...

wouldn't that be a prime example of an action by a minor child and/or his/her parents that affects you financially, if not personally? If such a situation should arise, you would be justified in expressing your opinion. Until then, the decision(s) made by those parents would be solely their concern, not yours, mine or anyone else's. You have proven my point, thank you.

Jason Theriault's picture

Personal Responsibility

As I said, I would concede this if the parents who's kids did get knocked up were forced to accept legal responsibility for the baby until the baby's 18th birthday. But as it is right now, parents think that abstinence is enough, and when it turns out their wrong, they foist the responsibility on the kid in the name of personal responsibility, who will most likely seek state and federal assistance. If we could hold the parent responsible as well as the child, I would be far more inclined to agree

Jason Theriault's picture

Lets be realistic

Abstinence based sex ed approaches to kids is just dumb.


Cause kids do dumb things. This is why they aren't considered adults, because their ability to make good decisions is lacking. I don't think kids should be having sex, but kids have a funny way of not giving a damn what you think they should do.

Do kids drink alcohol and do drugs even though they're illegal? Yup
Do kids smoke cigarettes even though we know for certain it will cause cancer? Yup
Will taking away all forms of contraception stop kids from having sex? Nope.

So lets take the realistic approach. Some kids will listen and hold off on sex till they are ready. Some, however, will not. So lets throw contraception at them. Pills, condoms, everything. As much as I don't want kids having sex, I REALLY don't want them getting pregnant.

Steve Bulger's picture

While your comment has merit,

it is valid only when you are talking about YOUR children. The point by the author is that no one else should be making decisions like these for another parent's children. On that point, I have to agree with her. Right or wrong, a parent should have the final decision on any issue affecting his/her children until those kids reach the age of majority or are emancipated by a court beforehand.

Jason Theriault's picture

Well, no, I disagree

No, you don't have the final decision. If the state thinks your hurting you kids, DHHS will start making choice for you real quick.

But, I will grant your point with one requirement. Parents are responsible for making choice for their kids. They are also be responsible for the actions of their kids. I think a stipulation of this should be that if a child get pregnant, the parent(of the pregnant child) is equally responsible for the baby until the baby is 18.

So if you want your kids to go abstinence only, and you kids make a dumb choice, YOU should have to be responsible. None of this teen mothers go on the dole while their parents throw up their hands. That way, you want to put all your eggs in the abstinence bucket, the rest of us don't have to deal with it when that choice bites you in the rear

Steve Bulger's picture


you state, "No, you don't have the final decision. If the state thinks your hurting you kids, DHHS will start making choice for you real quick." Too many times these days, the actions of a parent are considered "abuse" when viewed by authorities, medical practitioners, teachers and school administrators, and countless other "reason-with-the-child" do-gooders. My parents and their peers would have considered many of those actions "discipline" (including corporal punishment) and would have scoffed at the notion that ANYONE, other than themselves, had a right to determine what is and is not appropriate discipline. Granted, there were exceptions in those who carried punishment too far. But they were dealt with accordingly by authorities AND their neighbors. Most of my peers who were raised by parents who subscribed to the "spare the rod and spoil the child" philosophy turned out to be solid citizens and respected members of the community.
As for your statement, "But, I will grant your point with one requirement. Parents are responsible for making choice for their kids. They are also be responsible for the actions of their kids", I wholeheartely concur. If more people would accept responsibility for their personal decisions, this world would be a far better place to inhabit.

Steve  Dosh's picture

A parent's decision

Nice letter Debra , 11.03.21 20:15 HST •
The government leaves medical decisions to those affected in the U S as far as we all know . It would be hypocritical not to . No one forces you , your children , or grandchildren to go see a doctor except in the case of neglect or abuse . Children and spouses have a right to see the police , doctors and nurses especially if they have been mentally or physically abused for evaluation and treatment . Many youngsters are taken by the State from biological parents and put into foster homes for possible adoption . In the case of the criminally insane , anyone may be committed to State mental institutions in these U S of A
The U S is not communist China nor democratic India where sterilization if sometimes forced upon individuals , male and female alike . It is incumbent upon U S parents to advocate abstinence , to not contribute to the delinquency of children , and to protect children until they reach the age of 1 8 , whereupon they ( the kids ) can join the armed forces and pretty much do what ever they like whilst being held legally responsible for their own actions or inaction
" a physician may give out birth control prescriptions to students if that health care professional determines that the student will “suffer” if she does not get the pill. "
Physicians and nurses and kid's friends can probably also give out male and female condoms ( I U D's ) , too , to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases like HIV / AIDs and other nasty viruses http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexually_transmitted_disease Better safe than sorry , huh ? The morning after pill is a ME law , it seems , and it is the quintessential women's issue . As a male , i really have nothing to say on the matter , don't vote there , and am not even physically in the Great State of Maine . Choice is always yours . Choose wisely
h t h ( Hope This Helps ) , Dr. Dosh , Hawai'i

 's picture

It is time for the government

It is time for the government to leave medical decisions to those affected, not disinterested individuals. If a youngster needs birth control, at least give them credit for not wanting an unplanned and unwanted pregnacy. It is infinity preferrable to the youngsters needing to get an abortion.


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...