Know Your Rights

You may not be an adult just yet, but that doesn't mean you don't have rights.

You have the right to

Ask to speak privately to your doctor

That's true even if a parent or another adult is giving you permission for the visit. So don't be shy with your private questions! 

Easy to understand info about medical care including:

  • A description of your medical problems
  • Ways to treat your medical problems

Private medical care related to sexual activity, without permission from your parents including:

  • Pregnancy, pregnancy prevention and emergency contraception (the "morning after" pill)
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Getting answers to concerns or questions about your sexuality 

Counseling for alcohol or drug use

  • You have the right to refuse drug testing demanded by your school or your parents. Before you make this decision, find out what it means. can you stay in school, play in sports or joining other activities. 
  • You can get medical care for alcohol or drug use without permission from your parents any time your doctor thinks you need it. 

Agree to or refuse HIV testing without your parents' permission

Your parents cannot get results of your HIV test without your permission.

Agree to your own health care if you are considered emancipated

You can be emancipated if you are:

  • Living on your own and supporting yourself
  • Serving in the military 
  • Married
  • A parent taking care of your child (you can also consent to medical care for your child)

If you ask, your doctor can determine if you are mature enough to agree to your own health care, depending on your medical issues.

Meet with a counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist to get counseling without a parent's permission if:

  • You want counseling and your parent is not available to give permission
  • If it would be dangerous to involve your parents
  • Your parent will not give permission and your doctor thinks you should have counseling

See information contained in your medical record

You may tell your doctor not to show private information in you medical record to anyone, including your parent, without your permission if you have agreed to your own medical car. A parent who has given permission for you medical care can ask to see your medical record.

A few exceptions

  • Your parent may be able to get information about your emergency medical care (like a sudden illness or injury), unless it was a problem that you're guaranteed confidentiality by law. 
  • If a doctor believes you are being abused or are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, they may share your information without your permission or get you additional help. 

If you're in foster care

You have all the rights and responsibilities with one main difference: any information in your foster agency file may be shared with your foster parents, possible adoptive parents and the foster care agency staff. 

Your responsibilities

With great power comes great responsibility. As a teen in South Carolina it's your responsibility to:

  • Give honest and complete information to your doctor or other health care provider
  • Talk to a parent or other responsible adult about your health care, if you can
  • Provide a reliable way to contact you (phone number email, etc.)
  • Keep your medical appointments
  • Ask questions about anything you don't understand
  • Treat your doctor and other medical providers with respect 

Spread the word

Want to let your friends know about their rights and responsibilities? Download our teen bill of rights.