Michigan citizen Christy Duffy wrote a blog post entitled, “I Am The Mom” to share her shock and confusion over the policy with other parents in the state. The doctor’s office posted a sign saying it was a new Michigan law, although apparently no such law exists.
When taking her 17-year-old daughter to a Michigan doctor’s office for an appointment over a foot injury, she was met with a sign that both raised parental rights concerns and caused her blood to boil. The sign said the supposed new law requires a nurse “to have a short 5 minute private conversation with your child.” It applies to children ages 12-17.
“I was there last week for an appointment for Amy,” Duffy began. “She hurt her foot, which makes dancing difficult, so we had to get that checked out. Amy is 17; I asked if this policy was in effect and if so, how could I opt out. The receptionist told me it’s a new law and there is no opting out. Working to keep my cool, I said, ‘I’m sure there is.’ She said, ‘No, there isn’t.’ At which point I asked if I needed to leave and go to the urgent care center because I was not submitting my daughter to such a conversation.”
The Michigan mom’s questioning of the new law did not go over well with the nurse, according to the blog post. After refusing to have her minor child questioned or given information without her supervision, she was reportedly approached by an office manager. The manager allegedly informed her that the new policy would permit a child to access his or her medical records online and the minor had the power to block parents from reviewing the healthcare documents.
The Michigan doctor’s office manager also reportedly told Duffy that during the five-minute private conversation with her daughter a nurse would discuss birth control options, HIV, and share information about sexually transmitted diseases.
Duffy would not back down on the parental rights issue. According to the “I am the Mom” blogger, she politely told the doctor’s office manager that she would not be separated from her daughter in order for a stranger to have a private conversation with her about sex and birth control. The mother and daughter were planning on returning to the Michigan medical facility for a sport’s physical in July.
“Make sure this is crystal clear: what they want to do is talk to your child about sex and drugs (maybe rock and roll – who knows?) without your input. Is it really such a stretch to imagine that a doctor who does not value abstinence before marriage would encourage your daughters – as young as 12! – to receive birth control? Is it really such a stretch to imagine a nurse telling a young boy – because a 12 year old boy is a BOY – that she will give him condoms so he can be safe? I am the Mom. I will pick who can talk to my kids about sex and drugs. And rock-n-roll for that matter.”
The day after the parental rights blog post, a woman from the Michigan medical facility’s “privacy department” responded to Duffy’s email about the situation. The woman claimed that the new state laws does give minors the ability to block their records from parental viewing and affirmed the topics of the five-minute private conversation with a nurse – but said such a chat is not mandated by law. The privacy department staffer said the facility “jumped the gun” when posting the sign.
“The point is that parents’ rights are eroding right in front of our eyes,” Duffy wrote on her blog. “I know, I know. I’m an alarmist. I’m crazy. I’ve been listening to right-wing radio talk show hosts who tell us the government is out to take control of our kids and we should all move to Montana and live off the grid. But I’m not an alarmist. I have not wanted to believe this was happening in our country. I’m not crazy – not that kind, anyway. I listen to NPR more than talk radio. And y’all know I’m not into farming, camping or living anywhere without serious, made-possible-by-the-grid facilities. I just want to live with running water, internet access and my God-given parental rights intact.”
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