LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Medical Treatment of Pregnant Minor

Inquiry:

Hello, I have a very urgent question regarding medical treatment of pregnant minor that I need answered as soon as possible.

If a 17-year-old is pregnant, and decides to move away from her parents, what can she do about doctor appointments?

My sister is pregnant and 17, and moved away from our parents. I am 19 and unfamiliar with this. She needs to know whether a parent must be with her at the hospital to sign releases and what not. She is so confused. She needs to have regular check-ups just in case something goes wrong. She is on Medicaid. Does a hospital consider her a minor that needs a parent signature? Do you know if they can refuse her because she is only 17?

Response:

Minor may consent.  MCL 333.9132 is the law applicable to medical treatment of pregnant minor.  This law provides that a minor may consent to the provision of health care, but the health care provider may, for medical reasons, notify the minor’s parent/guardian, spouse or the putative father. “Health care” means treatment or services intended to maintain the life and improve the health of both the minor and the minor’s child or fetus.

According to MCL 333.9132, if a minor consents to the provision of prenatal and pregnancy related health care or to the provision of health care for a child of the minor by a health facility or a health professional, the consent shall be valid and binding.  Neither the minor consenting nor the professional or facility providing the health care need the consent of any other person, including the putative father of the child or a spouse, parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis (acting as parent) to authorize the provision of health care to a minor or to a child of a minor.

Important!  Note well however, that for medical reasons, the health provider may, even despite the minor’s objection or refusal, inform the putative father of the child or the spouse, parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis (acting as parent) as to the health care given or needed. The procedure for this requires that before providing health care to a minor, the health facility/professional has to inform the minor that the putative father of the child or the minor’s spouse, parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis (acting as parent) may be notified for medical reasons. At the initial visit, the health care provider must request of the minor to make such contact for additional medical information which may be necessary or helpful to the provision of proper health care.

Therefore, in direct response to your question, the hospital does not consider her a minor that needs a parent signature and they should not refuse her because she is only 17. If you are there with her to establish a rapport with the physician and to register her in advance at the hospital at which she will deliver the baby, then you should avoid any issues as the physician and hospital will see that an adult family member is involved and that she has a support system in place.

Baby

For a summary document of Michigan laws related to the medical treatment of pregnant minor, or the right of a minor to obtain health care without consent or knowledge of parent, entitled Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and prepared by the State of Michigan, Michigan Department of Community Health, visit: Michigan Minor Consent Laws. This can be printed out along with the LawRefs article to use for support.

Related material:
Medical Treatment of Minors, Including Pregnancy – Mississippi
Texas Minor Medical Consent Guide

Discussion:

  1. Hey, I’m 14 and found out I am pregnant. I wanna keep my baby. I need to see a doctor for a ultrasound but I do not want my parents to take me. Can I go alone?

  2. I am 18 and pregnant. I don’t want my parents to know yet and I am under their insurance. I want to go to the doctors for a prenatal visit. Will the doctors inform my parents about the visit? Will my insurance company inform them about it? Will I need a parent consent when I go for the visit and for the use of the insurance?

    • Dear Sabrina:

      No, the doctors are not allowed to inform your parents unless you give your express permission. Contact the insurance company to inquire about their protocols as they may mail out an “Explanation of Benefits” after you have been seen, and this may go to your parents’ address.

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