TABLE 1.

Types of Minor Consent Statutes or Rules of Common Law That Allow for the Medical Treatment of a Minor Patient Without Parental Consent7,9,12,1416

Legal Exceptions to Informed Consent RequirementMedical Care Setting
The “emergency” exceptionMinor seeks emergency medical care.
The “emancipated minor” exceptionMinor is self-reliant or independent:
  • Married

  • In military service

  • Emancipated by court ruling

  • Financially independent and living apart from parents

In some states, college students, runaways, pregnant minors, or minor mothers also may be included.
The “mature minor” exceptionMinor is capable of providing informed consent to the proposed medical or surgical treatment—generally a minor 14 y or older who is sufficiently mature and possesses the intelligence to understand and appreciate the benefits, risks, and alternatives of the proposed treatment and who is able to make a voluntary and rational choice. (In determining whether the mature minor exception applies, the physician must consider the nature and degree of risk of the proposed treatment and whether the proposed treatment is for the minor’s benefit, is necessary or elective, and is complex.)
Exceptions based on specific medical conditionMinor seeks:
  • Mental health services

  • Pregnancy and contraceptive services

  • Testing or treatment for human immunodeficiency virus infection or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

  • Sexually transmitted or communicable disease testing and treatment

  • Drug or alcohol dependency counseling and treatment

  • Care for crime-related injury