State Senator pushing bill to let Pa. teens get vaccines without parental consent

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In Pennsylvania, minors must have parental consent before they can get vaccinated. But a State Senator from the Philly suburbs wants to let junior say yes, even if mom and dad are saying no.

Sadie Hornung is 17, but needed her dad to accompany and approve of her getting a vaccine.

“It’s a little silly considering I could have driven myself to the vaccine places, I found the places online and I did most of the heavy lifting in terms of getting myself signed up and all of that,” Hornung said.

Sadie works for Philly area State Senator Amanda Cappelletti who is writing a bill that would let 14 to 17-year-olds get vaccinated with or without parental consent.

“There are young people capable of making decisions and having those very important conversations with their doctors and primary care physicians about what is happening to their bodies, what’s going into their bodies and what’s the best path forward for them,” Cappelletti said.

But in a GOP-controlled legislature, there seems to be little path forward for Cappelletti’s bill. Republican State Rep Torren Ecker says a law that gets between a parent and their kids is no antidote.

“I’m a believer in parental rights in a lot of areas including medical decisions,” Ecker said. “Parents generally know what’s best for their children and I believe we should respect that unique bond between parents and children.”

Cappelletti has a master’s in public health. She says vaccines work and parents shouldn’t be saying no. But if they do, kids should be able to over-rule. She says it teaches body autonomy and affirmative consent.

“That’s incredibly important for young people to learn,” Cappelletti said.

And maybe parents might learn something about their teens.

“I could have done it on my own if I had to,” Hornung said.

In Pa, 14 to 17-year-olds can get mental health treatment if they ask for it regardless of parental consent.

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