As teenagers, it may be challenging to talk to your parents or guardians about sensitive issues. This is especially true when it comes to making serious decisions that impact our health and wellbeing. Usually adults are the ones who make these medical decisions for teens.

In the state of New York, young people can make certain health care decisions on their own. It is your right to keep these decisions confidential between you and your health care providers.

In some cases, the law allows teens to consent to and receive medical services without their parents being involved in the process. This is important because some young people may not seek care if their parents were involved and could put their health at greater risk.

This guide explains when and how you can make healthcare decisions for yourself. At the NYCLU, young people work directly with educators, school administrators and medical providers to ensure that all youth in New York have access to quality health care in our state. Read this guide to learn more about how to advocate for your own bodily autonomy and share this information with your peers.


Young people have the right to receive quality care from a provider regardless of your medical situation, immigration status, or whether you can pay for it.

Armed with the information in this guide, young people in New York can continue to raise awareness about minors’ rights to confidential health care and make sure that every young person can go to the doctor without fear or confusion. If you feel your rights have been violated, contact the NYCLU for help.