gynecology and obstetrics medical project, gynecology journal, obstetrics, gynecologic oncology, reproductive medicine, gynecological endoscopy, ultrasonography, gynecology articles

Ginekologia i Poloznictwo
ISSN 1896-3315 e-ISSN 1898-0759

Pregnant minor ? medical and legal aspects



Introduction. In everyday language, in order to define a person who is under 18, we intuiti-vely and interchangeably use several terms: underage, minor or juvenile. In legal language,these terms have their clear definitions, and differences between them are significant.Aim. Elaboration on the pregnant minor patients’ legal situation.Over the last decades, a continuous decline in the age of women’s sexual initiation has beenobserved. It is difficult to quantify the real scale of the problem of minor pregnant women.Official statistics show only birth rates. For the full picture, miscarriages and abortions shouldbe included. Pregnancy in a minor is a high-risk pregnancy since pregnancy itself and per-inatal complications are more frequent.Legal situation of a minor patient: minors function in the area of parental authority. In thecase of a minor patient, it is necessary to try to establish guardianship of such a patient. Inthe absence of the guardian, the guardianship court should be informed. After reaching theage of 16 years, minors gain limited patient rights and can co-decide on their treatment. Thehospital has a duty to notify the District Attorney’s Office about every minor patient suspec-ted of becoming pregnant under the age of 15 years – the minor patient is not subject to anycriminal liability.Legal situation of a newborn: a minor mother under 18 years of age cannot be discharged fromthe hospital with a newborn. A legal guardian for the baby must be appointed by the familycourt. In practice, it is usually the newborn’s grandmother or grandfather. As soon as the child’smother turns 18, she obtains full parental rights. The only exception is when the patient isalready married. This is possible if the woman is at least 16 years old and the family courthas given permission for contracting a marriage.Conclusions. Provisions of law are often unclear and there is a problem with their interpre-tation. It is therefore worthwhile to know the basics of law which will make it possible to followthe right procedures.