(March 17) – The Democratic majority on the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee voted this evening to defeat a bill that would have managed to undermine public health and public education in the name of a “Parents’ Bill of Rights.” The party-line vote was 7-6.

SB15-077, sponsored in the House by Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, took an extreme, absolutist view of parental rights.

The bill would have given parents new opportunities to exempt their children from the state’s immunization laws, to the detriment of Colorado’s already abysmal 45th-in-the-nation ranking in vaccination rates. With the resurgence of measles and pertussis and polls showing most Coloradans in favor of keeping unvaccinated children out of our public schools, the bill could have led to a serious disruption of K-12 education in Colorado.

Under the bill, parental consent would have been required for minors to receive birth control. Inasmuch as an American Medical Association survey found that most teenage girls would stop using contraception if their parents had to know about it, the bill would have led to an increase in teen pregnancies.

The bill also would have required an individual education plan for each K-12 child – a huge, unfunded mandate that would have drained our already strapped K-12 system.

“It would be charitable to call these unintended consequences, but I think the consequences have been thoroughly advertised,” Assistant Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, said after he voted against the bill.

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