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Parental Consent and Notification Laws: Prenatal Care for Minors

posted on Thu, Jan 21 2016 9:35 am by The Network

The Network was contacted by an Indiana health care facility that provides services to pregnant women and girls. The facility has an ultrasound machine and wanted to know whether Indiana law prohibits providers from performing an ultrasound procedure on a minor without parental knowledge or consent.

The Network researched the question and found that in Indiana, only competent adults, defined as age 18 or older, can consent to their own health care. Minors can only consent to their own health care under specific circumstances, for example if the minor is emancipated from their parents, is married, or if they are authorized to consent to the health care due to another Indiana state statute.

Indiana law permits minors to consent to certain medical care such as donating blood (at age 17) or to seek treatment for actual, suspected, or potential venereal disease (at any age). However, pregnancy and contraception are not statutory exceptions in Indiana.

Facilities that receive Title X Federal Family Planning funds are allowed to treat minors age 14 and older, pursuant to federal law without parental consent. Private physician offices do not receive such funds and are not subject to such law.

The American Medical Association has several ethical policies on this issue (see 5.055 Confidential Care for Minors).

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