The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is...

Maine Chapter
Maine Chapter
160 Fifth St
Auburn, ME 04210-6717
Phone: 207/782-0856
Fax: 866/286-3818
E-mail: [email protected]
Maine Chapter
Executive Committee
Jonathan Fanburg MD MPH FAAP
Vice President
Dan Hale MD FAAP
Maine Chapter Board
Donald Burgess MD FAAP
Daniel Cox DO, Resident
Joan Dupont DO, Resident
John J. Hagerty III MD FAAP
Robert Holmberg MD MPH FAAP
Jennifer Jewell MD FAAP
Larry Losey MD FAAP
Stephen Meister MD MHSA FAAP
Janice Pelletier MD FAAP
Lisa Ryan DO FAAP
Sydney Sewall MD MPH FAAP
Eddie Silco, Medical Student
Sheena Whittaker MD FAAP
Chapter Executive Director
Aubrie Entwood
Chapter Web site
AAP Headquarters
141 Northwest Point Blvd
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098
Phone: 847/434-4000
Fax: 847/434-8000
E-mail: [email protected]
The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is OPPOSED to 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)
As a group, we represent over 200 of Maine’s pediatricians and over 200,000 of Maine’s children and
adolescents. I write this testimony as the president of the chapter, as a pediatrician, as an adolescent
medicine specialist, and as a parent of a teenager.
By law, minor’s in Maine can seek confidential treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy,
substance abuse, and mental health concerns. The reason such confidentiality is permitted by many
states in the US, including Maine, is because:
1. Some teenagers won’t discuss these issues with their doctor if confidentiality is not provided.
2. Some teenagers won’t seek care for these issues if confidentiality is not provided.
3. And some teenagers will allow illnesses to progress to sicker stages before seeking care if
confidentiality is not provided, resulting in greater morbidity, mortality, and health care costs.
If LD 31 is passed, we predict that Maine will see the following:
1. Fewer teenagers willing to talk about risky behaviors with their doctor.
2. More pregnant teenagers, because they could not get contraception without parent permission.
3. Decreased early prenatal care for pregnant teenagers who were fearful of broken confidentiality.
4. Substance abuse teenagers coming into health care at a more progressed state.
5. More teenagers not getting treated for sexually transmitted infections until the infection has
progressed, resulting in greater chance of sterility, systemic spread, and partner spread.
6. Depression and anxiety going untreated among some teenagers.
As a parent, we all believe that there is no one better to help our teenager through tough health decisions
such as what to do when pregnant, whether to use contraception, what to do about substance abuse, and
what to do with depression and anxiety. However, this law does not promote parental-child relationships.
It promotes greater barriers to teenagers getting the health care that they need. As a parent, our
PRIMARY desire ought to be that our teenagers get treated for the illness they have.
As doctors, we see teenagers who don’t want their parents aware of some of the above health issues.
They are the exception to the rule, and exist more so in families in which the parent and teenager have
not developed an open talking relationship. The doctor must determine if the teenager is capable of
consent (weighing out the risks and benefits of a treatment) prior to prescribing a treatment. Many
doctors will still encourage a minor to involve a parent, even if it is after a medication is started. It is a
rare teenager who won’t talk with a parent after all of these steps.
Lastly, if this law is passed, what happens to the teenager who wants to be treated for substance abuse,
but the parent does not give permission? What happens to the teen who doesn’t want to get pregnant
and the parent refuses contraception? What happens to the teen who is pregnant and wants prenatal
vitamins or folic acid for a healthy pregnancy and the parent refuses such care?
If parents want to be involved with their teenager’s health, they need to first get involved with the teen’s
life long before risk taking behaviors begin. Unfortunately, this proposed legislation will not stop teen
sexuality, substance abuse, or depression/anxiety, it will just hinder its treatment.
The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is against LD 31.
Jonathan Fanburg, MD, MPH, FAAP
Pediatrician, Adolescent Medicine Specialist
President, Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics