As experts in pediatrics and advocates for children and key partners to optimize child and family health, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) believes the recent passage of Texas Senate Bill 8, the Heartbeat Act, is a danger to the health and well-being of adolescent and adult women and disproportionally impacts Black, Indigenous, and people of color and people with lower incomes.
NAPNAP firmly stands for equitable access to health care, which includes the fundamental right to patient-provider confidentiality. Provider-patient counseling and education are fundamental to ensuring optimal health care decision-making for emotional and physical wellness of children and adolescents. Upholding the principles of patient-provider confidentiality and decision-making capability is essential in delivering comprehensive high-quality evidence-based health care. Highly educated health care providers, in concert with their patients, are best positioned to reach optimal, individualized and informed health care decisions.
NAPNAP is firmly opposed to any legislation that imposes barriers to access to health care, infringes on patient and provider decision-making, or further perpetuates disparities in care access in marginalized populations.
We strongly urge swift action by the state to assure health care providers and adolescent patients of the confidentiality in the health care encounter to avoid unnecessary fear in adolescents seeking essential health services. Further, we call for the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce federal laws and protect those seeking to obtain or provide health care services.
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. Position statement on Access to Care. (2017). Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 31(1); A13-16. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2016.08.013
Sept. 7, 2021