Young Mainers: Know Your Rights!

Pop quiz: Carmen is 14 years old, lives in Maine, and wants to go on birth control, but doesn’t want to ask their parents. Can Carmen get a birth control method without involving their parents?

Answer: Yes!

Maine law empowers teens to take control of their sexual and reproductive health. Minors in Maine are allowed to give their informed consent for specific health services such as contraceptive care or STD/STI testing and treatment. Knowing their rights can help young people make healthy and informed decisions.

That’s why Maine Family Planning’s Prevention Program created Minors’ Rights: A Guide to Confidential Health Care in Maine. This easy-to-use pamphlet is a terrific resource for school nurses, health and sexuality educators, and adults who work with youth in other, non-school settings.

Inside, we’ve provided the basic facts about minors’ rights to:
birth control information and services,
– emergency contraception,
– testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and/or HIV,
– health services in the case of sexual assault,
abortion care, and
– mental health and substance use treatment.

Generally, all of these services are available to teens in Maine without requiring parent/guardian permission or notification.

Furthermore, services provided and information shared during such visits are kept private and confidential. (If a minor is using insurance for services, they should always check with the insurance company to find out what information is shared on insurance claims and billing.)

Many young people choose to involve a safe adult in their health care decisions. Some are unable to do so. Sometimes, young people don’t get the health care they need because they are worried or afraid that a parent or guardian will find out — or simply because they don’t know all the services available to them.

Building healthy relationships, avoiding unplanned pregnancy, and protecting yourself from STIs is challenging when you don’t have all the facts. At MFP, we believe everyone deserves information about and access to quality sexuality education and reproductive health care.

Call us (207-922-3222) or chat us today with questions about your health care, to book an appointment, or for further resources for the young people in your life.

If you’d like some Minors’ Rights pamphlets for your space, contact education@mainefamilyplanning.org.