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Table of Contents for This Page

Information for Contacting Members of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, the Premier, and the Minister of Health Services

Leaders of Two Political Parties with as Yet No MLA's in Legislature Express for Parental Consent Provision

Correspondence Between MLAs and BCPTL on Parental Consent for Youth Health-Care Referrals

Parents Shut Out:  School Abortion Counselling and Referrals Allowed [Under a Previous Government But Still the Case]

Information for Contacting Members of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, the Premier, and the Minister of Health Services


Click here for Members of the Legislative Assembly
  (The e-mail addresses are given opposite the name of each MLA.  Clicking on an MLA's name will give full contact information, including mailing address, voice phone number, and fax number.)
Premier:
Hon. Gordon Campbell

E-mail: gordon.campbell.mla@leg.bc.ca
Premier@gov.bc.ca
Office:
Room 156
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
Phone: 250 387-1715
Fax: 250 387-0087
Constituency:
3615 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V6R 1P2
 
Phone: 604 660-3202
Fax:
604 660-5488

 

Minister of Health Services:
Hon. Colin Hansen

E-mail: colin.hansen.mla@leg.bc.ca
Office:
Room 337
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
Phone: 250 953-3547
Fax: 250 356-9587
Constituency:
5640 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC
V6N 1W7
 
Phone: 604 664-0748
Fax: 604 664-0750

 

Leaders of Two Political Parties with as Yet No MLA's in Legislature Express Support for Parental Consent Provision

On April 30th (2003), BCPTL wrote to the leaders of several provincial parties with as yet no MLAs elected.  We asked them what their answers would be, if they were MLAs, to the questions we had asked the sitting MLAs.  The leaders of British Columbia Unity Party and of Reform British Columbia responded promptly with "Yes" to all of the questions, indicating their support for requiring parental consent for health referrals for minors.  This paragraph is being posted on May 3rd, and we do not yet have responses from the leaders of several other parties without MLAs to whom the questions were also sent on April 30th.

(1) Do you favour legislation to require a parent?s or guardian?s consent to an infant?s health care except in a case such as given above. (2) If you favour such legislation, would you support it and vote for it if it were presented in the legislature?
(3) Would you, if necessary, present such legislation?

The other parties whose leaders were also sent the April 30th message asking their response to the above questions were:
the Conservative Party of British Columbia, the Social Credit Party of British Columbia, and the BC Marijuana Party.

Correspondence Between British Columbia MLAs and BCPTL on Parental Consent for Youth Health-Care Referrals

Note:  All MLAs were sent messages in March, 2002, asking their stand on the matter of mandating parental consent for youth health-care referrals.  As of May 27th, the only responses independently giving definite positions were the e-mails received from the Hon. Colin Hansen and from Lynn Stephens, Minister of State for Womlen's Equality.  A number of Liberal MLAs referred to Mr. Hansen's reply in response to our question as to their own stand.   As of May 10, 2005, not one Member of the Legislature had written to us in support of requiring parental consent for minors' health care.  But see immediately above.:



Message Sent in March, 2002, to Members of the Legislature of British Columbia (including the Hon. Colin Hansen):

In spite of great opposition, the government of the day, in Bill 81—1992—repealed Section 16 of the Infants Act, R..S.B.C. 1979, c. 196, and substituted new wording . This new wording of Section 16 gave power to a “health care provider” to arrange medical treatment of an infant without obtaining a consent to the health care from an infant’s parent or guardian. The Infants Act still contains the wording adopted in 1993. It is now embodied in the Infants Act [R.S.B.C. 1996] Chapter 223, Part 2, Section 17.

We are requesting that legislation be enacted to require the consent of an infant’s parent or guardian before a health care provider arranges health care, except in the case of a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment when the consent of the parent or guardian is not available. A petition is being circulated to enable citizens of British Columbia to join us in this request.

We are seeking support of all members of the provincial legislature, and would like to report that we have yours. (1) Do you favour legislation to require a parent’s or guardian’s consent to an infant’s health care except in a case such as given above. (2) If you favour such legislation, will you support it and vote for it if it is presented in the legislature?  (3) Will, you if necessary present such legislation?

We would appreciate your replies to each of the above questions at your earliest convenience.

On behalf of the executive of British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life,

Message Received May 10, 2002, 
from the Hon. Colin Hansen, Minister of Health Services:

I am writing in response to your recent letter to members of the Government
Caucus requesting an amendment of section 17 of the Infants Act.  Although
this legislation is the responsibility of the Attorney General, the
Honourable Geoff Plant, I have been asked to respond because the central
issue you have raised involves the provision of health care.

Section 17 establishes the two principal conditions to be satisfied in order
for a person under the age of 19 years to give a lawful consent to health
care.   First, the health care provider must be satisfied that the patient
understands the nature and the consequences of the proposed health care, as
well as its reasonably foreseeable risks and benefits.  Second, the health
care provider must have made reasonable efforts to determine, and have
concluded, that the proposed health care is in the best interests of the
patient.

Your proposal is to require that the consent of a parent or guardian be
obtained before health care can be provided to a minor, except in cases of
medical emergency when the parent or guardian is not available to make a
decision. 

The paramount intent of this legislation is to ensure that young persons
obtain required care and treatment when it has been determined to be in
their best interests.  There are circumstances where persons under the age
of 19 years may only seek out needed medical care on the condition that
their parents not be advised.  (Examples of these situations include mental
health counselling and treatment; alcohol and drug counselling and
treatment; testing, counselling and treatment for sexually transmitted
diseases; and birth control counselling.)  The overriding objective in these
cases must be to ensure that care is provided and that the legislation is
not a deterrent to obtaining medically required treatment.

It should be observed that the legislation does not prevent the involvement
of parents and parents do participate in the vast majority of treatment
decisions for their children. In practice, it will likely only be situations
where young persons live away from home (or where the person insists on
confidentiality) that the parents would not be involved.  In all cases,
however, the health care provider will have an implied ethical obligation to
try to persuade the young person to involve his or her parents. 

It should also be noted that responsibility to make judgments about both
patients' capability and patients' best interests rests with the medical
practitioner caring for the young person.  In that regard, the professional
body for the regulation of medicine, the College of Physicians and Surgeons,
will hold its members accountable for these judgments. 

The legal principles established in the Infants Act codify the common law
rules that have always applied to young persons and reflect the rules that
apply in the great majority of provinces.  I hope that this information will
assist you to understand the rationale underlying this legislation.

I appreciate the time you have taken to bring your views to the attention of
the government.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Hansen
Minister

pc [sic]: Members of Government Caucus

Message Sent by BCPTL on May 16th (by email) in Reply to the Above Message from the Hon. Colin Hansen:

Dear Mr. Hansen:

Thank you for your reply (received by e-mail May 10th) to my message sent in March, in which I conveyed the request of British Columbia Parents and Teachers for Life that legislation be enacted to require the consent of an infant’s (minor’s) parent or guardian before a health care provider arranges health care, except in the case of a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment when the consent of the parent or guardian is not available.

I appreciate the full and courteous nature of your response, but regret that its effect is to deny our request and to justify the changes in the Infant’s Act brought in by a previous New Democratic Party government. It was our hope that your government was in favour of giving greater recognition to legitimate parental rights than we had come to expect from governments formed by the New Democratic Party.

May we respond to some points in your letter? You cite a number of possible cases where you feel that the requirement of parental permission for minors’ health treatment would cause problems.

We would like to point out a number of cases where a lack of a requirement for such parental permission could cause serious injustice and possible harm to infants. You will have undoubtedly noted that we are a pro-life organization, and we are concerned that under the present Infants Act a girl of fourteen may come home, having had an abortion without her parents’ consent and without their having even had the chance to counsel their child in a situation where she may most need it. There is a considerable body of evidence that an abortion—apart from any moral issues involved—may have harmful psychological and physical effects on the one who undergoes it. (One example is the conclusion reached by many researchers that abortions can increase the risk of breast cancer. Please see the note at the end of this letter.)  Other citizens, who may not be pro-life, may have other concerns.  Under the Infants Act a child may be given an inoculation which the parent may have reason to think is dangerous.

Your response to the above concerns might be to repeat that “. . .responsibility to make judgements about both patients’ capability and patients’ best interests rests with the medical practitioner caring for the young person."   But surely the medical practitioner cannot decide matters of health care as one having absolute authority.  In the case of adults, the consent of the patient is normally required. Presumably under the Infants Act the consent of the infant is required.  But in other matters involving considerations of that infant’s welfare the consent of the parent is required.   Why in the case of something so crucial as a major health-care decision is a parent’s consent not required, even in the case of a young child?   Surely there is something wrong with a law which denies parental rights to that extent.

You state that “The legal principles established in the Infants Act codify the common law rules that have always applied to young persons . . . .”   I doubt that you will find on careful examination that this is the case.   Certainly at the time the Infants Act was changed in the 1970’s [sic--actually in 1992] it came as a surprise and shock to parents to learn that their parental rights to decide the care of their children could be completely overridden by a “health-care worker.”

The possibility that some young persons might not seek out medical care unless their parents remained uninformed of possible health care to be given must be set over against the absolute authority given a health-care worker under the Infants Act to take over the parent’s role and to not only advise an impressionable young person but to arrange treatment without any necessity for parental involvement.

Parents cannot expect to be satisfied if the only reassurance they are given in the face of the overwhelming power given to health-care workers is the suggestion of an “implied ethical obligation to try to persuade the young person to involve his or her parents.” An ethical obligation is not a legal requirement, and so is not enforceable.

Again, thank you for your reply. We believe that the issue we have raised should be one to be considered personally by all MLAs, and that they are responsible to their constituents to take . . .stands which they can personally justify.

Sincerely yours, . . .


Note: Research results regarding evidence of a link between abortion and breast cancer may be seen at the following web site:

“Abortion-Breast Cancer Link” by Dr. Joel Brind, PhD (http://www.abortioncancer.com) 

In October 1996, Dr Brind and colleagues from the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey published a "Comprehensive Review and Meta-analysis" on ABC in the British Medical Association’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

An article by Michelle Nichols in The Scotsman Online, Dec. 6, 2001, cited a study by the Populations and Pensions Research that suggested that “.. . .up to 50 per cent of breast cancer cases in England and Wales over the next 26 years will be "attributable to abortion."

The purpose of calling attention to these studies is to point out that parents may have good reason to question the right of health-care workers to arrange what the Infants Act refers to as “health care.” —E.S.H..

Copy of this letter sent to Premier Gordon Campbell

Message Received June 6, 2002, from Premier Gordon Campbell, in Response to the May 16th Letter to Colin Hansen:

Thank you for your email regarding the request you have made to the Honourable Colin Hansen, Minister of Health Services to change the Infants Act.
 
I appreciate the time you have taken to share your concerns with me and encourage you to continue your discussions with Minister Hansen.  I have every confidence that he is in the best position to consider the issues you are addressing.
 
Thank you for keeping me informed.
 

Message Received May 21, 2002, from Lynn Stephens, Minister of State for Women's Equality:

Thank you for your letter regarding Section 17 of the Infants Act.  You indicate that your organization is opposed to this provision which allows a minor to access health care without parental consent if the minor understands the nature and possible consequences of the proposed health care. 

This is a crucial provision that gives mature minors the right and ability to access necessary health care.  It is particularly relevant to young women because it provides them with the ability to exercise autonomy over their reproductive health.

As the Minister of State for Women's Equality, I would not support legislation that might unduly restrict a young woman's ability to access appropriate health care.      

I realize that this is not the response that you had hoped for, however I appreciate you bringing this issue to my attention.

Yours truly,

Lynn Stephens
Minister of State for Women's Equality

pc: Honourable Colin Hansen
Minister of Health Services

n

Parents Shut Out:  School Abortion Counselling and Referrals Allowed; Parents Need Not Be Consulted or Informed.

This month (March, 2000) we learned that British Columbia, as of May first, will become the first province to dispense birth control pills without a prescription.  "Teens won't need parents' okay for pills," a headline in The Vancouver Sun (March 22nd, p.A14) read.  But the article went on to say that "Under provincial statutes (the Infants Act), anyone under the age of 19 can give consent to their own health care, and sexually active teenagers do not need to seek their parents' permission for contraceptive services."

What not all parents realize is that the schools can be used for pro-abortion counselling and referrals.  Perhaps it would not happen in your family, but imagine if you can, that your fourteen-year-old daughter arrives home having had an abortion at a local hospital or abortion clinic.  You have been given no notification beforehand, no say in the decision, and no opportunity to give your child the benefit of your parental advice or support.  Furthermore, you learn that the abortion took place as a result of a referral from your child's school. This scenario is one which parents should realize is fully possible in British Columbia.  There is no law or ministry directive forbidding the school to play such an abortion-advocacy or abortion-referral role.  

This state of affairs has existed for some time.  Our publication, Parents' Alert, reported in its Spring, 1995, edition that we and others had for some time been investigating provincial government policy regarding the sue of public schools for abortion counselling and referrals.  The result was to establish firmly, with evidence from letters from the provincial government, that provincial government policy is to allow such counselling and referrals, which may be done without the permission of students' parents and even without informing their parents beforehand of an impending abortion.  Unfortunately, nothing has happened to change that situation. n

 

 

Useful Links to Other Websites

We are, of course, not responsible for the content of external sites.  Listing of a site does not imply anything about our agreement or disagreement with particular  statements that may be made on such external sites.

Are you pregnant and need help?  
Help is available from these centres:   
Canada, US, UK, Ireland Pregnancy Centres: Click to find a centre in your area 
--or, in Canada or the US call 1-800-395-HELP

Abortion procedures and risks

Abortion: Stop the Cover-up

Association for Reformed PoliticalAction--Education

Campaign Life Coalition

Campaign Life Coalition BC

Canada Family Action Coalition

Canadian Constitution Foundation

CASJAFVA (Canadian  & Family Values Association)

Catholic Civil Rights Leag

Compasionate Healthcare Network

Contactmps.com

Courage Apostolate

Euthanasia.com

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada--Home Page

       EFC Social Issues

Exodus Youth

Family & Lifea 
(Ireland)

Family Policy Institute
of Washington

Focus on the Family: family.org

Focus on the Family Canada

Human Life Alliance

Humanrightscom-
missions.ca

Institute for Canadian Values

Kelowna Pro-Life

LifeSite

LifeCanada

MassResistance

Mission America

NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homo sexuality)

Parents for Democracy in Education

Priests for Life

Priests for Life Canada

Pro-Life Blogs

Pro-Life Canada Index

Pro-Life Corner

Pro-Life Kelowna

ProWoman ProLife.org

REAL Women of Canada

REAL Women of BC

Roadkill Radio

Silent No More

Socialconservatives.ca

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children  (UK-based)

Students for Life of America

TakeBackOurSchools.org

Take Back Canada

Teachers Saving Children

The Parents' Voice.org

True Tolerance

United Families International

Vivre dans la Dignité
  (Quebec-based;
  opposes euthanasia
  & assisted suicide)

World  Youth Alliance

 

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