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Book Chapter

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Providing gynecologic and obstetric care for minors raises important legal issues and it is critical that health-care providers understand those legal issues. State laws are often somewhat complicated and unsettled in the areas minors’ of consent to treatment, privacy and information, and abuse reporting requirements. State statutes commonly give minors the authority to consent to treatment for STIs, pregnancy, and contraception. There are, however, many variations among states in these areas. Most states limit the ability of minors to consent to abortion without some parental (or court) involvement. In some circumstances, a physician may provide information to parents if it is in the best interest of the minor, but in other cases (especially regarding abortion) parental notification may be required. All states have laws requiring the reporting of physical, mental, or sexual abuse or human trafficking of minors. These laws also vary considerably from state to state. Involving minors in human studies carries special, and often complex, obligations for legal and ethical review. The laws governing gynecologic and obstetric care for minors are complex and state regulations change frequently. It is, therefore, important that those providing such care have an ongoing relationship with legal counsel who can ensure that their practices meet the requirements of the law. Counsel should also be available for consultation as needed.


This book chapter is published in Sanfilippo's Textbook of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, eds. Joseph S. Sanfilippo, Eduardo Lara-Torre, and Veronica Gomez-Lobo. (CRC Press, 2019), pps. 325-333.