Senate Health Committee lowers age of consent

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14-year-old children will be able to consent to mental health and emotional disorder counseling without parent knowledge

It was a long afternoon in Trenton yesterday. Over two and half hours of public testimony concerning the two bills, we notified you about earlier in the week that would lower the age of consent for 13/14-year-old children to seek private and confidential mental health care counseling sessions without parent involvement or notification. Originally, Senate bill 1188 lowered the age to 13, and Senate bill 1970 lowered the age to 14. Health Committee Chairman, Senator Joe Vitale, the sponsor of the 14-year-old bill merged the two bills and kept the final bill at age 14.  

Undeterred by two hours and 10 minutes of people opposing the bill, and only 20 minutes total of people supporting the bill – the Senate Health Commitee passed the bill out of committee. It will now have to be voted on by the full State Senate.  

Another tragic day in the books to say the least.  

Senate Health Committee vote tally to lower the age of consent:

Senator Joe Vitale (D) – YES 

Senator Troy Singleton (D) – YES 

Senator Renee Burgess (D) – YES 

Senator Angela McKnight (D) – YES 

Senator Raj Mukherji (D) – YES 

Senator Owen Henry (R) – NO 

Senator Robert Singer (R) – Abstain 

Senator Holly Schepisi (R) – Not Present 

I was present with our Director of Advocacy Shawn Hyland who did a wonderful job in representing the New Jersey Family Policy Center and advocating for parents across the state.  Shawn reminded the senators that federal agencies, including the National Institiute of Mental Health, and state based mental health organizations teach parents how to talk to their children about suicide, how to be aware of the warning signs of suicide, how to assess their child’s behavior, how to speak to their child’s pediatrician, and how to work with their child’s school, because to reduce the risk of suicide, more parental involvement is necessary – not less.  

Clearly, the Legislative majority has a strong anti-parent bias as moms and dads are by default considered the problem and can not be trusted, while so-called “experts” have unfiltered and unknown access to young minds.

I can not stress enough how important it is for you to know how your legislator votes on important issues, and what bills we advocate for and against on your behalf. For that reason, I am excited to share with you that our newest Legislative Scorecard will be released next week! Look for the email in your inbox!

Allan F. Wright

Executive Director 

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