Host Leahy Questions Whether Gov. Lee Is Aware of His State’s Own Health Policy on the Mature Minor Doctrine

Host Leahy Questions Whether Gov. Lee Is Aware of His State’s Own Health Policy on the Mature Minor Doctrine


Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy discussed the firing of vaccine chief, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, and Governor Lee’s statement, which exposed his unfamiliarity with the Tennessee Department of Health’s mature minor doctrine.

Michel Patrick Leahy:

Well, we’ve been talking about Governor Billy’s statement yesterday about the termination of Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the state’s former vaccine chief.

And there’s something wrong with the way he’s explained it, it seems to me. By the way, you can call in if you want to disagree or if you have any additional insight into this number.

So here’s the story. Actually, I’m reading the story from Newsweek about this and will elaborate a little bit on some of the headlines that you heard on the radio during the break.

Here’s how Newsweek reported it. Remember, Newsweek is part of The Daily Beast. It’s more of a far-left outfit. So take this with a grain of salt. But they have done the most comprehensive reporting that I’ve seen on this so far.

Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee defended the termination of Michelle Fiscus, the state’s former vaccine chief, who was removed from her duties last week.

Fiscus asserts her firing was due to the outrage of some GOP lawmakers over her handling of state outreach efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccines for minors, the Associated Press reported. Asterisk.

The Associated Press is far left right now. Just so you know. Lee did not provide answers when asked by reporters for the specifics of the firing of Fiscus.

“Government needs to provide information and education, provide access, and we need to do so to the parents of those children. That’s the direction the department took regarding individual personnel decisions. I trust the departments to make decisions consistent with the vision.”

I don’t think that’s exactly the truth. Look, we’ll try to reach out to the governor and get them to come out of the program and elaborate on this.

But I just read from you the mature minor doctrine that is currently on the website of the Tennessee Department of Health. And I’m just reading what it says.

Between the ages of 14 and 18, there is a rebuttable presumption of capacity, and the physical physician may treat without parental consent unless the physician believes that the minor is not sufficiently mature to make his or her own health care decisions.

That is the official current policy of the Tennessee Department of Health and seems to be not the policy that Governor Lee is claiming. Thursday is the first time that Governor Lee spoke out about Fiscus’s termination, and he said State Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey did not tell him the motivations behind her termination.

Okay, not paying attention to what’s going on at a very important issue, it seems to me. Here’s again how Newsweek represented it. Anger emerged from some Republicans after Fiscus distributed a memo earlier this year about the state’s mature minor doctrine that allows minors 14 and older to choose to become vaccinated without guardians’ consent.

From our reading of the mature minor doctrine, which is still today on the Tennessee Department of Health website, that is an accurate reading of what the Tennessee Department of Health doctrine is.

I don’t know if Governor Lee has read that or is aware of it, but he ought to be aware of his own policy in the Tennessee Department of Health.

And this is kind of from The Associated Press, now part of the story. Lee also came out in full defense of his administration’s rollback of outreach for childhood vaccines that have sparked national scrutiny alongside Fiscus’s firing over well. I don’t think it’s a rollback of outreach.

I don’t know if that’s actually true either, because we’ve got Kerry Roberts saying that’s how Newsweek describes it. But basically what they’re describing is a rollback, Kerry Roberts says they’ve agreed to stop marketing to minors.

I don’t know if they’ve stopped promoting the idea that parents should be involved in deciding whether or not to have their kids vaccinated for COVID-19.

I’ll get to my take on the science of this, by the way, in a bit. One online post featuring a photo of a smiling child with a bandaid on his arm said, “Tennesseean’s 12 plus are eligible for a vaccine. Give COVID-19 vaccines a shot.”

Earlier this year, Fiscus released a memo detailing Tennessee’s mature minor doctrine which traces back to a 1987 state Supreme Court case.

It led to a firestorm at a legislative meeting last month. Dr. Fiscus is accurate in describing Tennessee’s mature minor doctrine, right? It’s accurate.

Now whether or not she should have sent that out without reviewing it in detail with a general counsel, that probably is a matter of judgment.

Tennessee is one of five states where providers have the discretion to decide if a minor is mature enough to consent to vaccination without a parent according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which said 41 other sites require parental consent, and five others have a self consent age under 18.

Okay. So look, Governor Lee, despite all of this brouhaha, it does appear that the current doctrine of your government and your administration is to allow children as young as 14 to receive this COVID-19 vaccination without parental consent if the administering physician thinks that they are sufficiently mature.

That, Governor Lee, is your doctrine right now. I agree with the legislators who said that ought not to be the doctrine. But Governor Lee, maybe he’s not aware of that and he’s not paying attention to what the doctrine really is of his own administration.

Again, it seems like that to me. By the way, you can jump in on this topic. I would like to hear from you. GOP lawmakers said in a meeting Wednesday they have received private reassurances from Piercey and a governor’s office officials that the state Health Department of Education and 89 of 95 County Health Departments won’t be offering COVID 19 vaccines to minors without their parents’ permission. Okay, well, that’s an assurance.

But that assurance conflicts with the current mature minor doctrine (Chuckles) that is promoted as the Tennessee Department of Health website. What’s wrong with that picture, Governor Lee?

Apparently, he seems to be unaware of any of this. Not a good situation in my view. You got to be on top of it. And I would say the mature minor doctrine needs to be changed.

I’ll do this over the break and look into that 1987 Tennessee Supreme Court decision upon which apparently this mature minor doctrine is based.

Listen to the first hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.















The Federalist’s Ben Weingarten on the Progressive Racial Agenda and Social Justice Shakedown

The Federalist’s Ben Weingarten on the Progressive Racial Agenda and Social Justice Shakedown


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed author and political writer Ben Weingarten to the newsmakers line to discuss critical race theory, Ibram Kendi’s call for racial division, and social justice shakedown of American’s.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by Ben Weingarten, who writes for The Federalist and has a lot of other fantastic credentials. And, Ben, you have a great piece last month. White Terror Is as American as the Stars and Stripes: How the Left Is Answering Ibram Kendi’s Call for Racial Strife. Good morning, Ben.

Weingarten: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate that kind introduction.

Leahy: Well, the new information ban is did you see this? Over the weekend, the governor of Washington state has signed a bill that makes the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 public schools in Washington state mandatory.

Weingarten: It’s really unbelievable. It’s an all-encompassing whole of society totalitarian push to impose what I’ve termed a ‘progressive racialist agenda’ on the country under the guise of being noble, virtuous, and just and helping America reckon with its past. So it’s a really insidious way to impose an awful ideology on us that at the same time also tear us apart at the seams by pitting us against each other through this identity politics regime that’s been created.

And that title that you mentioned of my piece was actually a direct quote from Ibram X. Kendi.  And it’s his so-called antiracist philosophy that’s at the core of critical race theory and this wokeism that we’re seeing take place around the country. And thank God millions of Americans are finally combating it.

Leahy: I found the way you phrase this in the middle of your article at the Federalist in theological terms. And I’m going to use a word here in a concept that perhaps students of early Christianity are familiar with. But not a lot of people have perhaps heard this term before. You say, Kendi’s anti-racism, let’s see if I pronounce this correctly, a Manichean concept in which the world is bifurcated into racist and anti-racist. ‘There is no in-between safe space of not racist, Kendi says, which fits neatly into the prevailing progressive or bigot binary.’ Talk about that a bit.

Weingarten: And this is what I mean about the insidious nature of this. The so-called anti-racist ideology says that you are either actively working towards anti-racist measures or you are a racist and a bigot. But the thing is, those anti-racist measures themselves prove to be racist on their own terms, which is actually what I wrote in Newsweek last week as well and can unpack that a little bit too.

But anti-racists judge, whether a policy or person is racist or not, on whether they support policies that achieve ‘equity.’ Not equality. Let’s be very clear. Equity. That’s actually something that was in one of Joe Biden’s first executive orders and at affirmatively advancing equity. So when you hear that buzzword, what does that mean?

Equity for the so-called anti-racist’s is about ensuring that outcomes in society perfectly represent the proportion of the population of each group. So in other words, it’s not about the merit of an individual that they bring to the table or their interests, skills, and ambitions. It’s about forcing a social engineering experiment on society to ensure that we all end up with representation in every aspect of society according to our proportion in the population.

And anti-racist’s themselves and I quote Kendi in this piece are perfectly fine using discrimination and bigotry to the extent it’s supporting equity. So they’re fine being racist so long as the beneficiaries of the racism accord with their equity agenda. And that points to the fraud of this and the notion that you’re either for that progressive agenda or you’re a bigot shows you what an intellectual fraud this is but that it’s a very powerful ideology, because being called a racist and a bigot is, of course, the worst kind of stigma smear that one could face in today’s society.

Leahy: Perhaps you could help unravel a bit of this mystery. Kendi’s comments about capitalism. I’ll read from your piece. Capitalism, which Kendi refers to as a conjoined twin of racism. Kendi states that ‘the origins of capitalism cannot be separated from the origins of racism.’ He suggests that capitalism is racist by dubiously questioning if markets were ever level playing fields between the races and whether plaques could ever compete equally with whites in the marketplace.

He concludes, ‘to truly be anti-racist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist. And in order to be truly anticapitalist, you have to be anti-racist.’ That’s what the guy’s saying. Why Ben are many publicly traded Fortune 500 multinational corporations embracing the philosophy of Kendi?

Weingarten: That’s the million-dollar question or maybe a billion-dollar question if you look at how much money was raised by all these social justice so-called groups over the last year by America’s biggest corporations. I’d say there are a few explanations for it. The first is you have true believers at the top of these companies who all went to the same elite schools where they are basically inundated with this sort of woke ideology.

And so they actually believe it. There’s another cohort that I think is far more cynical. They think that they can adopt this ideology and that it will ultimately accrue to the benefit of their top and bottom lines by getting in line with these movements. And then I think there’s the third segment which is they’re cowed into submission to it.

They’re afraid that if they don’t go along with the anti-racist regime that they are going to be called a racist and they’re going to have picketers outside. They’re going to be people lobbying for regulations to target them, etc. So I would call it something of a social justice shakedown that we’re witnessing. And then the last sort of derivative of one of those buckets, whether it’s the sort of true believers, useful idiots, or the dupes or the cynics is that you have younger workforces within some of these companies, younger employees who are really pushing this hard.

And they are true believers in it. So Consequently, you add up to businesses supporting anti-capitalism with billions of dollars. It’s really a remarkable thing. They think, ultimately that the anti-capitalist crocodile will spare them if they continue to feed it. I think that’s a bad bet ultimately. And by the way, you’re going to upset and alienate half the country. And I think we as Conservatives, are waking up to the fact that we have to find a way to get around doing business with people who hate our guts.

Leahy: Where does this all go, Ben?

Weingarten: Unfortunately, the most optimistic way you can look at it and you see it with the push back on critical race theory in state and local authorities getting invested in these curriculums and putting up fights against anti-American ideology any way that they can in our schools. The best-case scenario is there’s a massive pushback from the silent majority in this country and a better ideology.

And the truly American ideology prevails over what I would argue is an anti-American ideology. I think in the interim, though, we are headed for serious societal disunion where everything is going to break along ideological lines. And I think the left has forced that upon us by pushing politics into every aspect of our society.

Pretty much every part of society is going to be an ideological battleground. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to be at each other’s throats over these arguments. But maybe they have to be hashed out and it’s better to deal with it now than 10 years down the road when it’s metastasized into something far worse and we’re far further behind.

Leahy: Well, you know what? I wish I had a more optimistic view of the future on these issues Ben, but I share your perspective. I really appreciate you coming on to talk with us about this. Come on back again when there are more developments here. Ben Weingarten, thanks for joining us.

Weingarten: Thanks so much for having me and I hope I have better news next time.

Leahy: (Chuckles) We do, too.

Listen to the full second hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Ben Weingarten” by Ben Weingarten.