I'm not trying to get medical care, I'm just curious. I was wondering if the state of Pennsylvania had what is known as a "Mature Minor Doctrine" which, if I understand correctly, would allow minors, in a limited set of circumstances, to consent to medical treatment in lieu of their parents if said minor could demonstrate a level of knowledge and maturity necessary to make such decision. I know that some other states have this statute in their medical codes, and it varies from state to state what the implementation of this law. If PA does have such a doctrine, what are its specifics (age, how maturity is determined, etc.) And if it falls under PA emancipation law (which to my knowledge is horrendously complected.)

1 Answer 1


PA is a state that has discussed the mature minor doctrine in Commonwealth v. Nixon, 61 A.2d 1151 (Pa. 2000), however, as you mention, the results are complicated.

The following is not well-cited, but it should give you a lay of the land:

Journal of Lancaster General Hospital (2009)

You don't mention a particular area of medicine, but the mature minor doctrine is frequently associated with the controversy on underage reproductive behavior. So let me treat that briefly. The statute governing abortion is 18 Pa.C.S. § 3206, which is about a quarter of the way down the link. The courts are beginning to get involved as well, and a recent "judicial bypass" case that dealt with parental consent is re Jane Doe, J-108-2010 (Pa. 2011).

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