Bioethics Discussion Blog: Minor Requesting Abortion: Anyone Want to Argue California Law?

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Minor Requesting Abortion: Anyone Want to Argue California Law?

Here is the California law regarding abortion requests by a minor:

A minor may consent to an abortion without
parental consent and without court permission.
(American Academy of Pediatrics v. Lungren, 16
Cal.4th 307 (1997)).

The health care provider is not permitted to inform a
parent or legal guardian without minor’s consent. The
provider can only share the minor’s medical records with
the signed consent of the minor. (Cal. Health & Safety
Code §§ 123110(a), 123115(a); Cal. Civ. 56.10, 56.11).

Anyone want to argue this California law? By the way, there is an interesting document available about how to implement the California laws both for the healthcare providers and the teen agers. ..Maurice.

9 Comments:

At Monday, August 03, 2009 7:11:00 AM, Blogger Anna said...

As a future physician (I'm a medical student) I'm worried about how I'll enact these laws in practice. I understand that teens want confidentiality about sex because their parents might become very angry if they knew what the kids were up to. But don't we recognize the right of parents to keep tabs on their children and discipline them? A high school will let the parent know if a child is suspended, or even gets an F on a test, but not if that teen gets pregnant? I hope I can come to some peace with this law before I am forced to practice by it.

 
At Monday, August 03, 2009 7:58:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Anna, I can't argue the reasons the politicians and courts set these laws because I don't really know. However, if you go to the link in my above posting, you as a future physician, will be helped by that manual with how to professionally follow the law and still maintain rapport with the patient and family. ..Maurice.

 
At Sunday, August 09, 2009 8:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually,this has been the law in
many states for well over 25 years,
yet a minor often needs parental
permission to seek routine healthcare that is not an emergency!

PT

 
At Tuesday, August 25, 2009 1:16:00 PM, Blogger MER said...

I'm just wondering whether there's another double standard here.

Why is this right extended just to female minors who are pregnant? That is a serious condition, of course, but so are many other diseases? Why doesn't a 15-year-old boy, as a minor, also have a right to trump his parent's decision about a critical health problem? Same with a girl who isn't pregnant?
Someone explain to me the logic of extending this right only to female minors who are pregnant. Pregnancy is no more "special" a condition that is cancer or other life-threatening diseases.

 
At Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:10:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

MER, whereas the legislature and subsequently the courts are the ones who set the powers over a minor pregnant female, you shouldn't extrapolate that and conclude that a 15 year old male or a 15 year old female who is not pregnant have no legal say over how or whether their illness will be treated. Children at least from the age of 7 to the age of 18 (and even perhaps from a couple years earlier) must be evaluated for the capacity for assent and if they have such capacity for the issue at hand should be informed and allowed the right to assent or dissent in addition to the consent or non-consent of the parents. If there is a conflict, the physician must always look at him/herself as primarily responsible for the best interests of child patient and must seriously accept any assent or dissent by the child, perhaps on rare occasions involving the courts to preserve that responsibility.

You can read more about childhood assent in the statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, though published in the Feb.1995 issue of Pediatrics, the content is still valid. ..Maurice.

 
At Monday, August 31, 2009 9:21:00 AM, Blogger MER said...

Doctor: That document certainly helps explain things from an ethical, philosophical point of view. In the legal world, though, it does get more confusing. But I think I see the bigger picture better.

 
At Thursday, September 24, 2009 7:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon this interesting forum. I would love to hear responses to my thought that the consent for abortion is NOT that simple. In short, I do not believe it is legal to perform an abortion on a minor unless she has a documented approved petition from the court. She can't just walk in and ask for one.

Here are the relevant laws, as I understand them.

Family Code
6925. (a) A minor may consent to medical care related to the
prevention or treatment of pregnancy.
(b) This section does not authorize a minor:
(1) To be sterilized without the consent of the minor's parent or
guardian.
(2) To receive an abortion without the consent of a parent or
guardian other than as provided in Section 123450 of the Health and
Safety Code.


Health and Safety Code:
123450. (a) Except in a medical emergency requiring immediate
medical action, no abortion shall be performed upon an unemancipated
minor unless she first has given her written consent to the abortion
and also has obtained the written consent of one of her parents or
legal guardian.
(b) If one or both of an unemancipated, pregnant minor's parents
or her guardian refuse to consent to the performance of an abortion,
or if the minor elects not to seek the consent of one or both of her
parents or her guardian, an unemancipated pregnant minor may file a
petition with the juvenile court.

 
At Tuesday, November 10, 2009 1:38:00 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I like what Anonymous said, but I am interested in the reply from Maurice?

 
At Tuesday, November 10, 2009 2:06:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

A pregnant minor, in the state of California, can authorize her abortion without consent of parents or guardian or court permission. This is case law American Academy of Pediatrics v. Lungren, 16
Cal.4th 307 (1997) and until it is overturned, it remains the law to be followed. ..Maurice.

 

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