Teenagers dating parental consent
These developments, however, produced a political backlash among social and religious conservatives, who contended that the very availability of confidential reproductive health services promoted sexual promiscuity among teens, undermined parental authority and interfered with parent-child relationships.They argued, then and now, that state and federal law should enshrine parents' rights to control their childrens upbringing, and they have worked consistently over the course of three decades to legislate parental control over teenagers' reproductive health care decisions.Therefore, pregnancies that would have occurred to teenagers within marriage in previous years increasingly occurred before marriage.At the same time, pregnant teenagers became less likely to marry to "legitimize" their pregnancies and births, and more teens began to terminate their pregnancies following the national legalization of abortion in 1973.Parents generally have the legal authority to make medical decisions on behalf of their minor children, on the basis that young people typically lack the maturity and judgment to make fully informed decisions before they reach the age of majority (18 in most states).Exceptions to this rule have long existed, such as when medical emergencies leave no time to obtain parental consent and in cases where a minor is "emancipated" by marriage or other circumstances and thus can legally make decisions on his or her own behalf.
Reproductive health providers and others concerned about adolescent health and well-being increasingly turned their attention to ensuring that teenagers had the information and services they needed to avoid early and unwanted pregnancy.
Furthermore, some state courts have adopted the so-called mature minor rule, under which a minor who is deemed sufficiently intelligent and mature to understand the nature and consequences of a proposed treatment may consent to medical treatment without consulting his or her parents or obtaining their permission.
On the basis of scientific findings dating back to the late 1970s that identified the premium that young people place on confidentiality, public policy has long reflected the reality that many minors will not seek important, sensitive health services if required to inform their parents.
For example, federal courts struck down the Title X "squeal rule"—a 1982 regulation issued by the Reagan administration requiring that Title X–supported clinics notify parents before dispensing contraception to minors—on the grounds that it undermined one of the major purposes of Title X (preventing teenage pregnancies) and therefore subverted the intent of Congress.
Similarly, Congress rejected a series of amendments in the late 1990s that would have attached a parental consent requirement to the annual legislation funding the program.
The federal Medicaid statute also requires family planning services to be provided confidentially to sexually active minors who seek them.