At present coitarchy in Italy mostly occurs in 15 to 18 years old girls, with no contraception in more than 50% of cases. About 10.000 deliveries and over 4.000 abortions per year in italian underage women take place, so the prescription of contraceptive devices in minors is a true social priority. The most relevant forensic aspect of such a prescription is to deal with underage patients (till 18 years old in Italy), with questions about: lawfulness of prescription when parents are absent or unaware; minimum age for a juridically correct prescription; emergency contraception. Even if medical deontology and rules of law suggest the awareness and the consent of the lawful delegates when medical services are prescribed to minors, nowadays the present trend is to recognize them more and more power to decide about their own health. Apart from age, the physician should take into account: the specific maturity level of every underage patient; the need of confidentiality to allow contraception be pursued; the assumption of responsibilities by the doctor, who must assure the minor both the prescription of the contraceptive device and a suitable information. When these requirements are fulfilled, the prescription of contraceptive devices to underage patients is thought to be legal even if the consent of the lawful delegates is absent or unavailable. According to the Italian law, emergency contraception in teenagers is comparable to contraception more than to voluntary abortion, because an ongoing pregnancy cannot be proved. Being an emergency situation, the physician may act on adolescent patients quite apart from the consent of lawful delegates.
|Translated title of the contribution||The prescription of contraceptive devices in Italian teenagers: Forensic aspects|
|Title of host publication||Rivista Italiana di Medicina dell'Adolescenza|
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health