Recognizing Adolescents' 'Evolving Capacities' to Exercise Choice in Reproductive Healthcare

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 70, pp. 13-21, 2000

9 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2006

See all articles by Rebecca J. Cook

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Abstract

All countries (except Somalia and the USA) have adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which usually applies to individuals aged under 18 years. The Convention requires governments to 'respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents [or others acting as parents] ... in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child'. Many adolescents gain capacity to make decisions for themselves concerning reproductive and sexual health services, and to decide issues of confidentiality. Immature adolescents must be given usual protections. The Convention sets a legal limit on parental power to deny capable adolescents reproductive and sexual health services. The question whether an adolescent is a 'mature minor' must be decided by health service providers independently of parental judgment. The specific duties of government and health service providers to implement adolescent rights regarding their reproductive and sexual health needs are examined.

Keywords: Adolescent reproductive health, Adolescents' evolving capacities, Human rights of children, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Parentalism, Paternalism, Sexuality education

JEL Classification: I18, K19

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J. and Dickens, Bernard, Recognizing Adolescents' 'Evolving Capacities' to Exercise Choice in Reproductive Healthcare. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 70, pp. 13-21, 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946466

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Bernard Dickens (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4849 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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