Tennessee Governor Signs Parental Rights Bill Counteracting Mature Minor Doctrine

Image Credit: pxfuel / public domain

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

Governor Bill Lee signed a bill that counteracts Tennessee’s “Mature Minor Doctrine” on Wednesday.

The Mature Minor Doctrine Clarification Act, sponsored by Representative John Ragan and Senator Janice Bowling, requires that healthcare providers obtain informed consent from a parent or legal guardian before providing vaccinations to a minor. The term “minor” does not include an individual who “is the parent of a minor child and has full custody of that minor child.”

The new law also prohibits employees or agents of the state, such as Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), from mandating that minors in state custody receive vaccines. Tennessee foster parents were informed that Lee had signed the bill yesterday by email. 

Biological parents of children in foster care must give consent for their children to receive vaccines while in state custody, however, DCS may petition the court to be allowed to provide them.

During the progression of the bill through the House and Senate, Senator Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville-District 21) stated, “It is a relatively well-established fact that foster homes are far less likely to take someone who is not vaccinated…” 

While it is common knowledge that DCS is in dire need of more foster homes, many families in Tennessee stopped fostering when the agency required that all household members be up-to-date on pertussis (whooping cough) and influenza vaccines to foster children under the age of 18 months old or with significant documented medical needs.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at paula@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *