Which Minors are Exempt from Requiring Parental Consent for the Internal Medicine Boards?

We may not see pediatric patients as Internists, but that hasn’t stopped the ABIM Board or NBME Shelf exam syllabi from covering the topic of which minors don’t require parental consent. In general, the rule is that individuals under the age of 18 years need parental consent before undergoing treatment or procedures. As a result, we should simply remember the exceptions to this guideline. While individual state laws vary, for exam purposes, the major exceptions to note are the following:

  • Pregnancy care
  • Request to obtain contraceptives
  • Abortions
  • Treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Substance abuse treatment
To test yourself, try the following question from our QVault:


In relation to laws in most states, which of the following scenarios requires parental consent?


A. 13-year-old female who is pregnant requesting an abortion

B. 15-year old female requesting an oral contraceptive

C. 17-year-old female who has gonorrhea and chlamydia and requires treatment

D. 15-year-old male seeking help for substance abuse

E. 16-year old male requiring vaccination



Choices A thru D are all examples of patients who do not require parental consent. Only Choice E (15-year-old male requires vaccination) is the scenario that will require parental consent.


You can view ABIM Exam Review Questions of the Week at the Knowmedge Blog. You can also find additional topics and questions directly from the Knowmedge Internal Medicine ABIM Board Exam Review Questions QVault.

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