Background

Over the past 30 years, states have expanded minors’ authority to consent to health care, including care related to sexual activity. This trend reflects the 1997 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Carey v. Population Services International that affirmed the constitutional right to privacy for a minor to obtain contraceptives in all states. It also reflects the recognition that while parental involvement is desirable, many minors will remain sexually active but not seek services if they have to tell their parents. As a result, confidentiality is vital to ensuring minors’ access to contraceptive services. Even when a state has no relevant policy or case law or an explicit limitation, physicians may commonly provide medical care to a mature minor without parental consent, particularly if the state allows a minor to consent to related health services.

Highlights

Minors' Access to Contraceptive Services

STATE

EXPLICITLY ALLOWS ALL MINORS TO CONSENT TO SERVICESξ​

EXPLICITLY AFFIRMS CERTAIN MINORS MAY CONSENT TO SERVICES_

NO EXPLICIT POLICYξ

Health

Married

Parent

Pregnant or Ever Pregnant

Other

Alabama

 

 

X*

X*

X*

HS graduate* or 14 years*

 

Alaska

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arizona

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arkansas

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

California

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecticut

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Delaware

 

 

 

 

 

12 years‡​

 

Dist. of Columbia

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida

 

X

X

X

X

 

 

Georgia

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawaii

 

 

 

 

 

14 years

 

Idaho

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois

 

X

X

X

X

Referral

 

Indiana

 

 

X†​

 

 

 

 

Iowa

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas

 

 

 

 

 

Mature minor

 

Kentucky

X‡​

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

 

 

X†​

 

 

 

 

Maine

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

Maryland

X‡​

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts

XΩ​

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michigan

 

 

X†​

 

 

 

 

Minnesota

X‡​

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mississippi

 

 

X

X

 

Referral

 

Missouri

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Montana

X‡​

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nebraska

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Nevada

 

 

X†​

X*

 

Mature minor*

 

New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

Mature minor*

 

New Jersey

 

 

X*

 

X*

 

 

New Mexico

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York

XΩ​

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Oklahoma

 

 

X

 

X‡​

 

 

Oregon

X‡​

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhode Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

South Carolina

 

 

X†​

 

 

16 years or Mature minor

 

South Dakota

 

 

X†​

 

 

 

 

Tennessee

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas

 

 

X†​

 

 

Φ

 

Utah

 

 

X

 

 

Φ

 

Vermont

 

 

X†​

 

 

 

 

Virginia

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Virginia

 

 

X†​

 

 

Mature Minor

 

Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Wyoming

XΩ​

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

22 + DC

3

20

6

5

10

4

ξ    US Supreme Court rulings have extended privacy rights to include a minor's decision to obtain contraceptives.
*    State policy does not specifically address contraceptive services but applies to medical care in general.
   State law confers the rights and responsibilities of adulthood to minors who are married.
    Physician may, but is not required to, inform the minor's parents.
Ω   The state funds a statewide program that gives minors access to confidential contraceptive care.
Φ   State funds may not be used to provide minors with confidential contraceptive services.