preg minor


big debate in ER today. 16 y/o preg in for general flu-like sx. Is she emancipated because she is preg or do you still need mother consent? I called mother anyway to cover myself but brought up debate. thanks.


3,828 Posts

I agree with morte, it will vary from state to state.

For example, in my state, North Carolina, pregnancy alone does not emancipate a minor child. As such, in the case the OP presented, parental consent is required. However, consent is not required for a non-emancipated minor to "consent to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of (1) venereal diseases and other like diseases, (2) pregnancy, (3) abuse of controlled substances or alcohol, or (4) emotional disturbance. N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-21.5(a)."

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,214 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

In IL children can consent at the age of 12 for mental health, drug abuse, pregnancy. If pregnant, minor can consent for herself and baby


34 Posts

Specializes in er.



135 Posts

In Texas, a minor is emancipated while pregnant UNTIL they have the child, then her parents have the power to make decisions for her. However, she will still make the legal decisions regarding her child's care..... Even though she's a minor. Makes complete sense, right?

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Really not an area for "debate", as surely your hospital has policies in place to cover this (not uncommon) situation, based on your state laws.


531 Posts

Specializes in ED, trauma.

In Florida, the staff I work with say the law says the minor child can only make decisions regarding the pregnancy and then after delivery the baby.

For instance, pregnant minor has a cold, she would not be considered emancipated. It does not directly effect the pregnancy. However, he makes a decision about whether the medications ordered she will take because it could harm the baby.

All I know, is hen signing consent, we always prefer to have a parent sign because there is too much gray area. If the minor is in labor or actively bleeding or anything like that, we will allow the minor to sign.

All I know is its pretty ridiculous either way. Too much gray area! Sad when babies are having babies and we aren't sure how to make sure everyone has their rights protected. :(

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Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Indiana is slightly technically does not have emancipation legislation.

IC 16-36-1-3

Consent for own health care

Sec. 3. (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) through (d), unless incapable of consenting under section 4 of this chapter, an individual may consent to the individual's own health care if the individual is:

(1) an adult; or

(2) a minor and:

(A) is emancipated;

(B) is:

(i) at least fourteen (14) years of age;

(ii) not dependent on a parent for support;

(iii) living apart from the minor's parents or from an individual in loco parentis; and

(iv) managing the minor's own affairs;

© is or has been married;

(D) is in the military service of the United States; or

(E) is authorized to consent to the health care by any other statute.

However it does state that the minor can consent to treatment, if pregnant for her and her child, but the parents may be notified if the minor is using the parental insurance. I found this to be clear as mud. I followed the hospital policy on this....which my facility when I worked there was that unless living independently forim the parents (another part of the statue) reasonable efforts are to be made to contact the parent.

Specializes in Urgent Care NP, Emergency Nursing, Camp Nursing. Has 12 years experience.

This seems like something to be passed on to your hospital's Risk Management dept. Let the lawyers figure it out, then get back to you guys with a policy.

I have just had to refresh myself with this as a pregnant 17 year old has presented twice to ED for "Abdominal pain" and "Nausea, vomiting." In the state of Virginia.....The patient is not considered emancipated until she is actually in labor , for purpose of "control during her delivery." Upon her discharge, she is no longer emancipated in terms of consenting for her own medical care, however she can legally consent for any and all tx for her child. So......the patient may be 20 weeks gestation, come to the ER for whatever reason (except those related to STD's) and we must get a guardian's consent. During labor and delivery, the patient has legal right to make any decision during her labor and delivery. Once she is discharged from the hospital, she can bring her child to the ED for treatment, however I must get her guardian's consent once again before assessing and providing treatment to her. She is only able to consent for her own treatment if she is legally emancipated via court or other means such as married, and it is documented on her driver's license.

Makes a lot of sense doesn't it? SMH....