An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to make sure those who get married in his state are free of STDs. Senate Bill 733, introduced by state Sen. Anthony Sykes (R), would make sure both people in the marriage receive a blood test to make sure they’re not infected with syphilis or other communicable or infectious diseases. A marriage license would not be submitted if neither has been tested. If either partner is infected, they may not be permitted to get married.
On one hand, people should know their status, but on the other, who has the right to bar someone from marriage, if they’re ok marrying someone with STDs? Then there’s the possible violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is designed to protect the confidentiality of Americans’ medical records.
As recently as 1980, there were 34 states that demanded a premarital blood test, but virtually every state has repealed that requirement since. Today, only Montana still has it on the books.
Blood test requirements “were enacted in the first half of the twentieth century as part of public health campaigns to reduce the spread of communicable diseases and prevent birth defects. The laws required couples applying for a marriage license to be screened for certain conditions, commonly rubella or syphilis,” explains a 2009 study led by Kasey Buckles at the University of Notre Dame. “However, after penicillin proved to be a cheap and effective treatment for syphilis and vaccines were developed for rubella, these screenings were no longer considered cost-effective.”
Clutchettes, what do you think about the proposed law?