Tags: Vaccines | mature minor doctrine

What Is Mature Minor Doctrine?

By    |   Friday, 10 Jul 2015 08:49 AM

"Mature minor doctrine" is the legal idea that someone younger than 18 can be trusted to make their own medical decisions without the permission of a parent, adult guardian or child welfare agency.

A minor's overall maturity, state of mind and decision-making abilities can be taken into consideration if, for example, he or she is asking not to undergo chemotherapy or transfusions, and even if medical professionals say the treatments could be the difference between life and death.

The doctrine operates as a kind of exception to the rule, since, as the medical journal Pediatrics reported in 2013, "parental consent continues to be required by most jurisdictions, even when the minor can be considered cognitively 'mature.'"

VOTE NOW: Should Parents Have the Freedom Not to Vaccinate Their Children?

But a handful of states expressly allow someone to claim mature minor status, and in a number of known cases, teenagers and adolescents have gone to court to withhold their consent for medical treatment, on religious or other grounds, and even to assert a right to die.

"If the evidence is clear and convincing that the minor is mature enough to appreciate the consequences of her actions, and that the minor is mature enough to exercise the judgment of an adult, then the mature minor doctrine affords her the common law right to consent to or refuse medical treatment," the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 1989, allowing a minor to refuse blood transfusions to treat leukemia in keeping with her religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness.

But as that court and others have cautioned, the mature-minor claim is not universal or absolute.

A 2015 case in Connecticut pitted 17-year-old Cassandra Callender against a local hospital and the state's child welfare agency after she had refused chemotherapy for Hodgkins lymphoma cancer. Callender, backed by her mother, objected to "toxic" intravenous drugs, but failed to persuade the courts she was entitled to mature-minor status and was ordered to undergo the treatment, the Hartford Courant reported.

URGENT: Should States Be Allowed to Make Health Decisions for Your Children?

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
FastFeatures
Mature minor doctrine is the legal idea that someone younger than 18 can be trusted to make their own medical decisions without the permission of a parent, adult guardian or child welfare agency.
mature minor doctrine
346
2015-49-10
Friday, 10 Jul 2015 08:49 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved