Online Edition: Volume 56 2023-24



The mature minor doctrine is an exception to the common law rule of parental informed consent for a child’s medical decisions. The mature minor doctrine is applicable as either doctrine or statute in some states, but not all. Connecticut currently upholds the common law view for a minor child’s medical decision-making authority. Consequently, one prominent topic of discussion in recent years deals with the Covid-19 pandemic and the public policy discussions over nationwide vaccination efforts. Many minors, children legally under the age of eighteen, are looking to make their own medical decisions when dealing with vaccination for the Coronavirus. By expanding the parameters of the mature minor doctrine, and implementing it into Connecticut statute, mature minors can be given the autonomy to acquire, or resist, vaccination despite their parent’s wishes. Although there has been a history of case law favoring parental authority over children, psychologists and legal scholars have brought to light new studies demonstrating adolescent development and capacity with understanding medical treatment. Furthermore, other northeastern U.S. states have gradually started to recognize mature minors in the context of vaccinations. As with any new introduction of a rule to a particular state, Connecticut legislation and courts must weigh the benefits, as well as the potential drawbacks that the mature minor doctrine may bring to light. Overall, the mature minor doctrine is a complicated doctrine, and it includes many different competing interests. However, if applied correctly, the doctrine can help competent and capable minors to make their own informed medical decisions in the state of Connecticut.

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