Reproductive Choice and Parental Notification

The California Confidential Health Information Act of 2012 (SB 138)

NCYL believes that young people must have the ability to take ownership of their own bodies and reproductive decisions to have a fair start in life. In order to do so, NCYL believes that youth must have the ability to decide when to share sensitive health information with others, including parents and when to involve others in their decision-making. For this reason, NCYL has been involved in efforts to establish and defend adolescent rights to privacy and reproductive choice in California and nationally.

Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) means an unprecedented number of young people now have health insurance. Greater enrollment and access to preventive services made by the ACA has the potential to increase adolescent access to critical care – but only if they are willing to use their private insurance to do so.

When an adolescent or young adult is enrolled on a health insurance policy held in his or her parent’s name, using insurance to pay for sensitive health care can trigger disclosure to the insurance policyholder without the young person’s knowledge or consent. Fear of disclosure can lead young people to delay or defer care and can lead to real world harms post-disclosure.

The California Confidential Health Information Act of 2012 (SB 138) was California’s response to the problem. The National Center for Youth Law co-sponsored the bill and is actively working on implementation of the new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2015.