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Healthcare Rights of Youth in Illinois

(updated January 2018) January 18, 2018
by Monica Guzman

Terms to Know

  • Legal rights:  protections we are given by law
  • State laws:  written statements passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Illinois Governor
  • Healthcare provider:  this could be a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, midwife, counselor, social worker, or other professional
  • Minor:  in Illinois, a minor is someone under the age of 18
  • Mature minor:  in Illinois, a mature minor is someone under the age of 18 who is married, pregnant, or a parent
  • Confidential:  something that will be kept private:
    • In Illinois, youth have the right to confidentiality when talking to healthcare providers or getting a procedure
    • Exceptions to confidentiality:
      • Cases of abuse and neglect by a family member, guardian, or caretaker (source: 325 ILCS5/Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act)
      • May pose a danger to others
      • May pose a danger to themselves

Services & Laws

  • General Healthcare
    • No consent needed by parent or guardian if a minor is married, pregnant, or a parent. Consent is needed for minors if they do not meet these qualifications.
      • Individual clinics may have their own policy or practice, as consent is different from notification.
    • See 410 ILCS/Consent by Minors to Medical Procedure Act.
  • Pregnancy Testing
    • No consent needed by parent or guardian for OTC pregnancy tests.
      • In-office pregnancy tests may fall under "General Healthcare."
  • Parenting
    • No consent needed by parent or guardian, as prenatal care is "General Healthcare."
  • Abortion
    • Parent or guardian must be notified 48 hours prior to minor's abortion procedure. Consent is not needed.
      • Notification may be waived by judicial bypass (court order).
    • See 750 ILCS 70/Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
  • Barrier Methods/Condoms
    • No consent needed by parent or guardian for external condoms, but internal condoms now require a prescription.
      • Available for purchase or for free in many locations.
  • Emergency Contraception
    • Plan B One-Step and generics available OTC without consent or a prescription. Other versions require a prescription for 16 and younger, but no consent is required at the pharmacy.
    • See below for sexual assault-specific regulations.
  • Hormonal Methods
    • No additional consent needed by parent or guardian for youth 12 and older.
    • See 325 ILCS 10/Birth Control Services to Minors Act.
  • HPV Vaccine
    • Consent needed by parent or guardian as it's a vaccine, but consent can be bypassed in some cases if minor thinks they were exposed to HPV.
  • STI/HIV Testing and Treatment
    • No consent needed by parent or guardian for youth 12 and older.
      • Providers are not required to share results with parent or guardian by are allowed to.
    • See 410 ILCS 210/Consent by Minors to Medical Procedure Act.
  • Sexual Violence and Assault
    • No consent needed by parent of guardian for:
      • Making a police report
      • Consenting to healthcare at the hospital, including treatment for STIs, HIV, and emergency contraception
      • Consenting to evidence collection and release
      • 90 days of follow-up medical care
      • 5 counseling sessions at a rape crisis center (12-16 years old)
      • Determining of parameters of confidentiality (12 and older)
    • Protective orders require someone 18+, but it does not have to be a parent or guardian.
    • See 410 ILCS 70/Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act and 410 ILCS 210/Consent by Minors to Medical Procedure Act.
  • Outpatient Mental Health
    • 12-16 years old:
      • No consent needed by parent or guardian for eight 90-min. sessions.
      • Consent needed to continue unless counselor believes it's in the minor's best interest to continue or that parental involvement would be detrimental to minor's well being.
    • 17 and older:
      • No consent needed by parent or guardian.
    • See 405 ILCS 5/Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Code. Effective 1/1/18; was previously limited to five 45-min. sessions.
  • Inpatient Mental Health
    • Voluntary admission without parental consent at 16 years old, but parent or guardian is informed immediately.
    • Involuntary admission by a parent or guardian is possible, but a minor 12 years or older can object and be released within 15 business days.
    • See 405 ILCS 5/Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Code.
  • Substance Use Treatment
    • No consent needed by parent or guardian for youth 12 and older for inpatient or outpatient. Family involvement or release of information is only allowable with the youth's consent.
    • See 410 ILCS 210/Consent by Minors to Medical Procedure Act

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