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Minerva Ginecologica 2002 April;54(2):189-92

language: Italian

Contraception in teen-agers. Medico legal implication

Ciolli P., Parlavecchio E., Onorati E., Russo P.


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Contraception in adolescence is an issue which, due to its clinical and medico-legal implications, requires an indepth and clear knowledge of the general principles that govern contraception in minors, as stated in a broad body of laws. The position of the physician is complex, since he/she must comply with the law whilst protecting the minor. The physician has to provide answers to many questions: Can health care facilities and guidance centers administer to the minor, by medical prescription, the means necessary for her to make free choices in the area of responsible procreation without parental authorization? How must the gynecologist go about prescribing the ''morning after pill''? Emergency contraception, that is the ''morning after pill'', has proven to be extremely helpful for adolescents whose physical and psychic health could be undermined by an unwanted pregnancy, so that it is the physicians duty to protect it. In our legislation there are principles that guarantee the right of minors to conscious and responsible motherhood; however, there are no provisions that allow for such principles to be easily enforced. Consequently, only the health worker can actually interpret the law provisions and ''translate'' them into concrete action. Laws are therefore the only point of reference for the physician, who is then responsible for enforcing them in clinical practice, always fully respecting the rights of the minor. The aim of paper is to provide experts with a correct legislative framework on contraception in adolescents, in order to facilitate his/her work in prescribing treatment while at the same time protecting the health of the minor.

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