Minor's Rights Versus Parental Rights: Review of Legal Issues in Adolescent Health Care

Ann Maradiegue, C-FNP, MSN


J Midwifery Womens Health. 2003;48(3) 

In This Article

Minors' Rights to Give Informedconsent for Reproductive Health Care Services

A few states broadly interpret consent laws to allow the minor to authorize any type of medical care. For example in 1995, Oregon Revised Statutes §109.640 grant that a minor 15 years of age or older may give consent to hospital care, medical or surgical diagnosis or treatment "... without the consent of a parent or guardian ..." Alabama has a similar statute for any minor 14 years or older. However, in most states, only the parents can give consent for a minor's medical care.[4,8,17,18]

In the past, lawmakers have resisted attempts to impose parental consent or notification requirement on minors' access to reproductive services, with the exception of abortion.[13] Many states authorize minors to sign a written consent for contraceptive services, testing, and treatment for HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care and delivery services, treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, outpatient and mental health care.[10] Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are the only states that require some form of notification of the minor's parents prior to the minor giving up an infant for adoption.[18] The one exception to the adoption rule is the infant of a Native American tribe; in this case, the tribal court decides the infant's future so that the relationship between the infant and the infant's tribe can be sustained.[21] The Native American infant must be placed in a home either temporarily or permanently where the child's racial and cultural identity will be secured.[21]


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