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NCJ Number: 134863 Find in a Library
Title: Development of the Doctrine of Mature Minority as a Defense to States' Power of Parens Patriae
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:12  Dated:(1991)  Pages:139-144
Author(s): K J Pritz
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Recent State appellate opinions expanding the doctrine of mature minority have acted to restrain the assertion of a State's power of parens patriae.
Abstract: The latest decisions have revised an issue of first impression regarding a mature minor's right to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. The cases typically evolve with States asserting parens patriae power over minors whose parents base refusal of life-sustaining blood transfusions for their children on religious grounds. Three diverse jurisdictions have had an opportunity to develop and comment on the doctrine of mature minority as applied to the refusal of life-saving medical care. Illinois adopted the doctrine as law, choosing not to base its decision on constitutional grounds but rather holding that the rights of minors are rooted in Illinois common law. New York's case involved a minor not possessing the requisite maturity but nonetheless endorsed the doctrine. The Texas case also involved an immature minor, and the court chose not to endorse or reject the doctrine but rather to wait for an appropriate case. Significantly, no court has yet to face the potentially fatal consequences of its actions. The author concludes that constitutional questions concerning the rights of mature minors remain unresolved. 29 footnotes
Main Term(s): Parens patriae; Rights of minors
Index Term(s): Illinois; New York; Texas
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