Background

Many states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to terminate a pregnancy. In sharp contrast, states overwhelmingly consider minors who are parents to be capable of making critical decisions affecting the health and welfare of their children without their own parents’ knowledge or consent. Nearly every state permits minor parents to place a child for adoption, although some require an adult to be involved in the process in some capacity. Moreover, most states authorize minor parents to make health decisions for their children, and some allow minor parents to authorize surgery.

Highlights

Minors' Rights as Parents

STATE

PLACING CHILD FOR ADOPTION

CONSENTING TO MEDICAL CARE FOR CHILD

Minors May Consent

3rd Party Involvement

Minors May Consent

No Explicit Policy

Alabama

X

 

X

 

Alaska

X*

 

X

 

Arizona

X

 

 

X

Arkansas

X*

 

X

 

California

X

 

 

X

Colorado

X

 

X

 

Connecticut

 

Court-appointed counsel

X

 

Delaware

X

 

X

 

Dist. of Columbia

X

 

X

 

Florida

X*

 

X

 

Georgia

X

 

X

 

Hawaii

X

 

 

X

Idaho

X

 

X

 

Illinois

X

 

X

 

Indiana

X

 

 

X

Iowa

X*

 

 

X

Kansas

X

 

X

 

Kentucky

 

Court-appointed counsel

X

 

Louisiana

 

Parental consent†​

X

 

Maine

X*

 

 

X

Maryland

X

 

X

 

Massachusetts

X*

 

X

 

Michigan

 

Parental consent

X

 

Minnesota

 

Parental consent

X

 

Mississippi

X

 

X

 

Missouri

 

Court-appointed counsel

X

 

Montana

 

Legal counsel

X

 

Nebraska

X*

 

 

X

Nevada

X

 

X

 

New Hampshire

X

 

 

X

New Jersey

X

 

X

 

New Mexico

X

 

 

X

New York

X

 

X

 

North Carolina

X*

 

 

X

North Dakota

X

 

 

X

Ohio

X

 

 

X

Oklahoma

XΩ​

 

X

 

Oregon

X*

 

 

X

Pennsylvania

 

Parental notification

X

 

Rhode Island

 

Parental consent

X

 

South Carolina

X

 

X

 

South Dakota

X*

 

 

X

Tennessee

X

 

X

 

Texas

X*

 

 

X

Utah

X

 

X

 

Vermont

X

 

 

X

Virginia

X

 

X

 

Washington

 

Court-appointed counsel

 

X

West Virginia

X

 

 

X

Wisconsin

X*

 

 

X

Wyoming

X

 

 

X

TOTAL

40 + DC

10

30 + DC

20

*    State makes no distinction between minor and adult parents.
    Court may waive parental consent if the minor is "sufficiently mature and well informed" or the adoption is in the infant's best interest.
    Court may require parental consent for a minor to place a child for adoption.
Ω   Minor must be at least 16 years old.