Texas laws around legal consent to healthcare for minors are confusing and restrictive. While many other states allow teens under the age of 18 to consent to some healthcare such as birth control, Texas laws are more restrictive.
Most laws around minor consent to health care are found in Chapter 32 of the Texas Family Code. Texas teens who legal minors (under the age of 18 and not legally emancipated) need their parent or legal guardian’s consent to get birth control, with some exceptions:
- Teens can access confidential birth control and other reproductive health services at Title Ten Clinics (pronounced “Title Ten.”) These clinics offer reproductive healthcare services on a sliding scale and nobody is turned away for inability to pay. To find a clinic or learn more, visit www.everybodytexas.org.
- Under federal law, teens on medicaid can consent to family planning services. This includes youth in the foster care system who are served by Medicaid.
- Teens who are 16 or 17 years old, living on their own, and managing their own finances (including many homeless youth) can consent to their own healthcare.
- Minors who already have had a baby are not allowed to consent to their own contraception under state law. Texas consistently has one of the highest rates of repeat teen pregnancy in the nation. To learn more about our work to allow teen parents to consent to contraception, visit our legislative advocacy page.
- Texas teens can consent to screening and treatment for most sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Minors can consent to care for any disease or condition that is required to be reported to the Department of State Health Services. This includes STIs such as HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, as well as many other conditions such as influenza, COVID-19, etc. You can see the full list of reportable conditions here.
- Minors who are pregnant can consent to care related to the pregnancy.
- Minors who are pregnant or parenting can consent to vaccinations that the CDC recommends initiating prior to the age of 7.
If the teen discloses information leading the healthcare provider to believe they may be the victim of abuse or neglect, include sexual abuse, the provider must report this to Child Protective Services. This includes sexual activity involving a child age 13 or younger, or sexual activity involving a teen aged 14-17 with a partner more than 3 years older.