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7/5/2018 Governor signs bill to permit medical consent to minors for prenatal, delivery and postnatal care
STATE HOUSE — Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) that allows minors to consent to medical care involving pregnancy.

The law (2018-H 7193, 2018-S 2531Aaa) provides that any person, including, but not limited to, a minor who is pregnant, may give effective consent for medical, dental, health and hospital services relating to prenatal, delivery, and post-delivery care.

Dr. Emily White, a Rhode Island obstetrician, gave committee testimony, saying, “Teenage pregnancy is never an ideal situation, but it does happen. And when it does, we want to make sure these young women receive the best medical care. Because of the current law, there can be many barriers to these young women receiving timely and appropriate care.”

Doctor White proceeded to give examples, such as pregnant teens in labor who cannot be given appropriate anesthetic because they have to wait sometimes hours for their parents to be reached to give consent.

After peaking in 1991, the U.S. teen birth rate reached a historic low in 2015, with decreases among all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Rhode Island’s teen birth rate mirrors national trends, peaking in 1993 and reaching an historic low in 2015, according to the Kids Count Factbook. That year in Rhode Island, 539 babies were born to mothers under age 20, accounting for 5 percent of all babies born — the lowest rate ever recorded.

With the passage of this legislation, Rhode Island joins 37 other states that already allow the consent of a minor in prenatal and delivery care.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903