See related post “Treating minors in Texas: Answers to your questions”
According to the Texas Family Code, a minor is a person under age 18 who has never been married and never been declared an adult by a court. Minors are considered incompetent decision makers and cannot make health care decisions or give informed consent on their own behalf. Consent, therefore, falls to the parent or legal guardian in most situations. (1)
The Texas Family Code Section 32.003 and 32.004 list instances where a minor child can consent to certain types of medical treatment on their own. These include:
- a minor on active duty with the armed forces of the United States;
- a minor who is 16 years of age or older, residing apart from his/her parents or guardian, and managing his/her own financial affairs;
- a minor who is unmarried and pregnant can consent to treatment related to the pregnancy other than abortion;
- a minor can consent to diagnosis and treatment of infectious, contagious, or communicable disease that are reportable to the Texas Department of State Health Services;
- a minor who is unmarried, is the parent of a child, has actual custody of his or her child and consents to the medical, dental, psychological, or surgical care for the child;
- a minor who is serving a term of confinement in a facility operated by or under contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; and
- a minor can consent to counseling for suicide prevention, chemical or alcohol addiction or dependency, or sexual, physical, or emotional abuse. (1)
Treating minors for contraception
Generally in Texas, minors cannot give consent for their own medical treatment (see exceptions listed above). Contraception is not specifically addressed by law as an exception. In most situations, it is not a treatment for which a minor can give consent unless he or she is an “emancipated minor.” (1) There may be exceptions when a minor is treated in a Title X clinic.
1. Texas Family Code Section 32.003 and 32.004. Consent to medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment. Available at https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.32.htm . Accessed July 24, 2023.