Minors’ Access to Confidential Health Care

Teenwise Minnesota supports minors’ right to consent to and access confidential health care services related to emergency medical care, contraception, pregnancy related care, treatment for STIs, mental health services, and treatment for drugs and alcohol use. Confidential access to information and services can help to reduce risky behaviors, particularly behaviors that can lead to adolescent pregnancy.

The confidentiality that is assured by a minor’s right to consent is a basic principle essential in promoting the health of adolescents. Research indicates that adolescents are less likely to access health services without the guarantee of confidentiality. 6 Mandated parental involvement for contraception would discourage few teenagers from having sex, but would likely result in more teenagers using the least effective methods or no method at all. 7 Research has shown that most adolescents do discuss their use of reproductive health services with their parents and even more adolescents discuss an unintended pregnancy with their parents. 8 Also, health care professionals help adolescents reconnect and communicate better with parents and adults. 6 Related research shows that mandatory parental consent laws do not convince adolescents to share their health concerns with their parents, but rather increases health risks to adolescents.89

Teenwise Minnesota’s Vision

Minnesota provides minors the right to access confidential health care as granted by the Minnesota Statute 144.341-347.

Legislative and Policy Agenda

Through co-coordination of the Sexuality Education for Life Coalition, Teenwise Minnesota will work to sustain, protect, and increase support for Minnesota Statute 144.341-347, which guarantees minors’ right to confidential health care services. Teenwise Minnesota will oppose any attempts to repeal this statute or to amend this statute in any way that jeopardizes confidentiality.