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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > School Health > Teen Pregnancy

Teen Pregnancy 

 
Below are resources to assist schools in developing policies/protocols related to confidentiality and 
pregnant students.
 
PA Public School Code, § 14-1409. Confidentiality, transference and removal of health records
All health records established and maintained pursuant to this act shall be confidential, and their
contents shall be divulged only when necessary for the health of the child or at the request of the
parent or guardian to a physician legally qualified to practice medicine and surgery or osteopathy or
osteopathic surgery in the Commonwealth.
 
This reference pertains strictly to health records.
 
22 PA Code, Chapter 12, § 12.12. Confidential communications. (Dept. of Education regulations)
                (a)  Use of a student’s confidential communications to school personnel in legal proceedings is
governed by statutes and regulations appropriate to the proceeding. See, for example, 42 Pa.C.S.
§  5945 (relating to confidential communications to school personnel).
 (b)  Information received in confidence from a student may be revealed to the student’s parents or guardians, the principal or other appropriate authority when the health, welfare or safety of
the student or other persons is clearly in jeopardy.
 
This is the primary reference for confidential communications related to pregnancy. Some
schools/school nurses feel that all teen pregnancies are high risk and have their policies written that
the parent will be notified in all cases. Other policies only tell parents when there are complications,
such as high BP or suspected tubal pregnancy. The school also has to take into account the Minors’
Consent Act, which is outlined below from the Juvenile Law Center. Any minor who has “been
pregnant” is given the authority to authorize her own health care, without parental consent (except
for abortions). See Section B, specific to reproductive health.
 
Consent to Treatment and Confidentiality Provisions Affecting Minors in Pennsylvania
Juvenile Law Center (2006), www.jlc.org
Pennsylvania law also allows minors -- which are defined for purposes of this manual as persons under the age of 18 -- to consent to a wide variety of medical testing and treatment and health care services; in these cases, the consent of the minor's parent/guardian is not needed.
 
A. General Medical Treatment and Health Care Services
Under the Minors' Consent Act, a minor who has graduated from high school, has been pregnant or
has married can consent to medical, dental and health services for himself/herself. (It is important to
note that the Minors' Consent Act allows any minor who has "been pregnant" to authorize her own health care; the statute does not require that the minor have actually given birth.) If a minor fits into one of these categories, parental consent is not required. Because "medical, dental, and health services" are not further defined or enumerated by the Minors' Consent Act, minors who meet the above criteria can consent to all such service s unless otherwise prohibited by state law.
The Minors' Consent Act also allows any minor to consent to testing and treatment for what are
known as "reportable diseases" under the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955. "Reportable
diseases" are defined in the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955 as those communicable and
non-communicable diseases declared reportable either by state regulation or by the state Secretary of
Health.
 
B. Reproductive Health
1. Birth Control, Pregnancy Testing and Prenatal Care
Minors can obtain contraception (birth control) without parental consent or involvement. Under the
Minors' Consent Act, any minor can consent to testing for pregnancy, and medical and health "services
to treat pregnancy, including prenatal care.
 
Updated: June 17, 2016