Andy Ogles Weighs in on Tennessee Department of Health Mature Minor Doctrine and Parental Consent

Andy Ogles Weighs in on Tennessee Department of Health Mature Minor Doctrine and Parental Consent

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to weigh in on the uncertainty of the mature minor doctrine by the Tennessee Health Department and the right of parental consent with administering the COVID vaccine to minor children.

Leahy: Well, we’re enjoying some good coffee. It’s just, we’re enjoying this good coffee. And, of course, what I’m afraid of, Andy – No, I’m not afraid of – I know this is coming. Round two of lockdowns from the authoritarian Democrats establishment media. It’s coming.

You can see it. It’s like a Big Mac truck coming down the highway right at you. That’s what I see. I think you are involved in a little bit of pushback. The Freedom Matters Tour is coming to Tellico Village tomorrow night. Tell us about that.

Ogles: Yes. We launched The Freedom Matters Tour. Tennessee Stands is helping coordinate it. You can go to Freedommatterstour.com. You can see our dates.

Leahy: And it’s Freedommatterstour.com. And Tennessee Stands, this is Gary Humble’s group.

Ogles: That’s right. Gary is doing a great job. A lot of the lawsuits that have been filed against Williamson County, Davidson County, against the governor on freedom and liberty as it pertains to COVID, his group, either directly or indirectly, has been involved with.

And so really kind of tip of the spear as far as trying to get this adjudicated, through court. And one of the things they’ve been fighting is the whole issue of standing and the AG dodging the question. But oddly enough, there was actually legislation passed by the Tennessee legislature as introduced by Casada.

Leahy: Glen Casada.

Ogles: And Harwell was the Speaker at the time, which says, and I’m going to abbreviate here and summarize that any Tennessee citizen has the right to challenge the action of their government in court. So they by default have standing.

Leahy: Standing is that excuse that courts use when they don’t want to deal with a difficult issue. People who are lawyers spend their lives finding out about who has standing and who doesn’t?

And often as a nonlawyer, I’ll look at a case where it looks like, obviously, this plaintiff has standing, and the courts will say, no, you don’t have standing. And I try to figure out, how do they determine that? It defies logic to me sometimes. What’s the prospect of that particular law being passed.

Ogles: So the law is actually already passed.

Leahy: The law is passed and has been signed into law.

Ogles: Correct. This goes back to when Beth Harwell was Speaker and Glen Casada. And I forget who the Senate sponsor was? And forgive me for that. Mike Carter recently passed away of cancer – was co-sponsor.

He was an attorney by trade. The court ruled there was an issue of standing. So they have since appealed, and they’ve gone back to the General Assembly’s actual recordings. They’ve hired a stenographer and created an official transcript.

And my understanding is they have documentation from Glen, Representative Casada himself explaining the intent that would give any citizen to sue the actions of the governor or, say, a County Mayor for doing some of these mandates as it pertains to COVID.

Leahy: We’re going to go back to this so-called mature minor doctrine. What a mess that’s been. Go ahead.

Ogles: It epitomizes government overreach and this idea that suddenly you’re going to have health care professionals and the government talking to your child without your permission, giving them a vaccine – 14-year-olds a vaccine. But when you go back to the original actual facts of the case, it was a unique decision.

Leahy: Here’s what’s interesting about what happened about this. I’m gonna tell you something new. Something new about the mature minor doctrine.

It’s a legal doctrine that was codified in the 1987 Tennessee Supreme Court decision. It was called Caldwell v. Bechtel. It had to do with a 17-year, 7-month-year-old girl.

Ogles: She was almost an adult.

Leahy: Almost an adult who presented herself as an adult to an osteopath, the chiropractor who treated her. And there was some negative consequences. They sued.

And the Tennessee Supreme Court said that although we’re a common law state, in this particular instance, the presumption is there’s a standard in other states called the rule of seven.

In essence, it said, for anybody age 14 to 18, there’s a rebuttable presumption that they are mature, asterisk. But they applied it to that case and they said, well, a 17-year-old and 7-month-old woman/girl who presents herself as an adult, the doctor could expect her to be mature.

It’s very different to apply that legal doctrine – not upstate policy – but legal doctrine to a situation where you’ve got a 14-year-old who is clearly not capable of analyzing the risk associated with taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

How it became ‘state policy,’ interesting, the mature minor doctrine. We did some research on this, Andy. And it did not appear on any Tennessee Department health website until May 21st of this year. How about that?

And Janice Bowling in testimony when the Commissioner of Health appeared, said, look, you’re making a mistake about this doctrine. It’s not a policy of the state. This is simply a legal doctrine to be applied by judges in the case of litigation. Totally different.

Ogles: That’s right. Again, you have a situation where you have a young woman, who’s literally three months away from her 18th birthday, who is seeking medical treatment for excruciating pain.

And again, that’s oversimplifying the facts. Now you’re going to have a state agency going out and hocking a vaccine to 14, 15-year-olds without their parents’ consent.

Leahy: Not just hocking it, administering it.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: Without parents’ consent. And by the way, last week, Governor Lee made a kind of loosey-goosey statement in which he implied that the state government of Tennessee would not be delivering vaccines to kids age 14 without parental consent. The very next day, the commissioner of health said, yes, we are. Does he know who’s running the show?

Ogles: (Chuckles) I think it’s part of a pattern with this administration. They try to be on both sides of an issue. If they do something, they only do enough so that he can campaign on it, but not enough to actually affect change.

That’s why we still have universities in the state of Tennessee that can allow men to compete as women in college sports. Whereas in Florida, Ron DeSantis said enough was enough.

And so in Tennessee, we haven’t figured out that a dude in a dress is still a dude. (Leahy laughs) So here we are on both sides of an issue.

Leahy: So true.

Ogles: Where there’s a clear definition. If you’re a guy and you’re wearing a dress it’s your business right? But then don’t show up and try to go to the women’s restroom. Don’t try to enroll yourself into women’s sports right? You’re a guy.

Go be a guy. All right? You just happen to be a guy in a dress. That is plain and simple. And now you have this vaccine issue, the mature minor doctrine. And the governor is trying to be on both sides of this issue when clearly this is up to parents and parents alone. The government should not be trying to dictate my child’s health care.

Leahy: But see, what I think happened here is that the left-wing bureaucrats in the Department of Health, because they’re looking at this 38 percent vaccine adoption rate in Tennessee.

And they’re thinking, how do we get that up? And they say, oh, well, look at all these 14-year-old, 15-year old, and 16-year-olds. Look at all these teenagers.

We can force them to take this vaccine. How can we legally force them to take this vaccine without parental consent? Well, they can’t legally do it, actually.

But they have used this idea. They found this 1987 decision, they’ve misinterpreted it, and they’ve cast it as a state policy. And they’re using that as an excuse to administer the vaccine to 14-year-olds without parental consent.

Ogles: What everyone needs to understand is that the Tennessee Department of Health was created by the General Assembly. It’s not a constitutional department, and they work at the will of the people.

Leahy: And when you say that like the attorney general, that’s a constitutional office.

Ogles: That’s right.

Leahy: But the Tennessee Department of Health is not a constitutional office.

Ogles: These folks have gone off script and I would say today they should all be fired, period. But this governor doesn’t have the courage to do it.

And the General Assembly should call a special session and protect our children instead of sitting on the sidelines the way they have through most of COVID.

Leahy: Well, they have. And part of it has to do that they were very busy in their first session. But I think it would be a really good idea to have a special session to really figure out what the state policy is.

Is it what the governor says it is or is it what the commissioner of health says? Hmm, inquiring minds want to know.

Listen to the second hour here:

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

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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.