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HHS Mandate Allows 15 Year-Olds to be Sterilized Without Parental Consent

Although most of the fire directed against the Obama Administration's birth control mandate concerns its blatant infringement of religious freedom, this rule also allows people as young as 15 to be sterilized without their parent's knowledge or consent.

CNSNews.com is reporting that the same regulation that forces religious employers to provide insurance for services that violate their beliefs is now under fire for provisions that will allow these so-called "preventive services" of free birth control, abortifacients and sterilizations to be provided to "all women with reproductive capacity." Because the provision makes no stipulation about a minimum age, and the term "reproductive capacity" means girls as young as about 12 years, this means sterilizations must be offered to them and the services provided upon request.

And because states have varying laws on the age of consent, this means girls as young as 15 can not only be sterilized, but do so without their parent's consent.

For instance, as CNS discovered, Oregon lists the age of informed consent for sterilizations to be 15 years.

"Under Oregon law, girls from 15 years of age and up are given complete control over whether to be sterilized or not. The parents or guardians of a minor girl--between 15 and 18--can neither grant nor deny consent for a sterilization," CNS reports.

The Oregon law says: "'Informed consent' means consent given by an individual 15 years of age or older for sterilization that is: (a) Based upon a full understanding of the nature and consequences of sterilization pursuant to information requirements set forth in ORS 436.225(1); (b) Given by an individual competent to make such a decision; and (c) Wholly voluntary and free from coercion, express or implied."

The state defines "sterilization" as "any medical procedure, treatment or operation for the purpose of rendering an individual permanently incapable of procreating."

CNS also discovered that the Oregon Health Authority created a special consent form called "Ages 15-20 Consent to Sterilization." The form includes several statements the children must sign, such as "When I first asked for the information, I was told that the decision to be sterilized is completely up to me," and "I have decided that I do not want to become pregnant, bear children or father children."

After confirming with officials in the state of Oregon that the sterilization of 15 year-olds without parental consent is legal, CNS then questioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ask if they can confirm that under this regulation girls as young as 12 must be offered the opportunity to obtain a sterilization free of charge.

After repeated phone calls and e-mails, the HHS finally responded by saying there was no one available to answer the question.

However, this wasn't the first time the subject came up. During a meeting with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in March, he was asked whether or not he supported the mandate for free sterilization of college-aged women.

Hoyer expressed surprise and asked, “Free sterilization? I don’t know anything about free sterilization. I don’t know anything about that. I’m sorry. The answer is, I don’t. But I don’t think anybody is proposing that.”

Edwin Black, author of War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race, told CNSnews.com: “I find it abhorrent that a 15-year-old girl who is not old enough to consent to sexual activity, who is not old enough to consent to buying a beer, who is not old enough to drive herself to the hospital could possibly be considered old enough and mature enough to give informed consent for her own sterilization. . . . "

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