Know UR Rights Ages 13 and Under

Ages Under 13
People ages 13 and younger have some rights to consent to certain types of health care on their own without a parent/guardian’s permission.
Consent means you give permission for something to happen. On this website, we talk about consent as the legal term for agreeing to health care services. Most of the time, parents must consent to health care services for their children. In New Mexico, you can consent to some health services without your parent’s permission, even if you are under 18.

Keep in mind: just because you consent to healthcare, does not always mean that the information is confidential (private).


People ages 13 and younger have some rights to consent to certain types of health care on their own without a parent/guardian’s permission.
In New Mexico, people of any age can consent (agree) without your parent’s permission to sexual health care such as birth control, emergency contraception (morning after pill), pregnancy tests, prenatal care, abortion, testing for STDs and testing for HIV/AIDS.

In New Mexico, people of any age can consent (agree) without your parent’s permission to sexual health care such as birth control, emergency contraception (morning after pill), pregnancy tests, prenatal care, abortion, testing for STDs and testing for HIV/AIDS.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are bacteria or viruses that are spread through any sexual activity. You may also hear them called sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. STDs may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids. Some STDs (like HPV and herpes) can be spread by skin-to-skin touching even without having sex. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is one type of STD that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). STDs are very common—that is why it is a good idea to get tested if you’ve had oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

In New Mexico, you can consent (agree) to STD testing without your parents’ permission at any age. STD testing can be kept confidential (private). Find out where you can get confidential STI testing.

Birth control is a way for guys and girls to prevent pregnancy. There are many different types of birth control such as condoms, pills, hormonal implants, IUDs (intrauterine devices), sterilization, and the emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill).

In New Mexico, you can consent (agree) to get birth control without your parents’ permission at any age. Getting birth control can also be kept confidential (private). Find out where you can get confidential birth control.

A pregnancy test may let you know if you are pregnant or not. If you have a positive home pregnant test, be sure to go to a health clinic within a few days. You can also get a more accurate pregnancy test at a health clinic. Once you go to a clinic and your pregnancy is confirmed, your provider should talk to you about your options. Your options are:
  1. continuing the pregnancy and parenting
  2. continuing the pregnancy and making an adoption plan
    or
  3. abortion

In New Mexico, you have the right to choose which of these options is best for you without your parents’ permission. Getting a pregnancy test, pregnancy counseling and prenatal care can also be kept confidential (private). Find out where you can get confidential pregnancy testing, counseling & care.


Mental health care (also called behavioral health care) is care that helps with your mental and emotional well-being. A person may get mental health care when dealing with stress, changes in moods, grief, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, or trouble in school. Behavioral health care also includes support for drug and alcohol use.

Certain providers can help manage mental health concerns with treatments such as therapy, counseling, or medication.

In New Mexico, when you are 13 years old or younger, you can consent (agree) to a mental health (also called behavioral health) evaluation on your own without your parents’ permission. This means that you can meet with a counselor or therapist for up to two weeks. During this time, your provider will want to learn more about you and how you are feeling. They will then decide if you should keep coming back for more counseling or therapy. If you keep getting care for more than 2 weeks, your parent/guardian must give permission. Find out where you can get confidential mental/behavioral health care.

Counseling/therapy is a process in which a person with mental or emotional concerns talks with another person who is qualified to help. The goal of therapy is to help resolve issues and bring positive changes in feelings and behaviors. Therapy/counseling can be done one-on-one, with a partner, with family members, or in a group.
In New Mexico, when you are 13 years old or younger, you can consent (agree) to a mental health (also called behavioral health) evaluation on your own without your parents’ permission. This means that you can meet with a counselor or therapist for up to two weeks. During this time, your provider will want to learn more about you and how you are feeling. They will then decide if you should keep coming back for more counseling or therapy. If you keep getting care for more than 2 weeks, your parent/guardian must give permission. Find out where you can get confidential mental/behavioral health care.
Mental health care (also called behavioral health care) is care that helps with your mental and emotional well-being. A person may get mental health care when dealing with stress, changes in moods, grief, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, or trouble in school. Behavioral health care also includes support for drug and alcohol use.

Certain providers can help manage mental health concerns with treatments such as therapy, counseling, or medication.

In New Mexico, when you are 13 years old or younger, you can consent (agree) to a mental health (also called behavioral health) evaluation on your own without your parents’ permission. This means that you can meet with a counselor or therapist for up to two weeks. During this time, your provider will want to learn more about you and how you are feeling. They will then decide if you should keep coming back for more counseling or therapy. If you keep getting care for more than 2 weeks, your parent/guardian must give permission. Find out where you can get confidential mental/behavioral health care.

Confidentiality is the legal term for when information must be kept private. In some cases, health care providers will have to talk to your parents, even when you can consent to care on your own (this means your care is NOT confidential). But in other cases, health care providers cannot give your parents confidential information about your health care without your permission. Be sure to ask about your health care provider about confidentiality before you get care.
Here are some questions you might want to ask your health care provider:
  • Will the insurance or Medicaid bill that gets sent to my parents show what kind of care, exams or tests I had?
  • Are you going to discuss my exam with my parents?
  • How will you contact me?
  • Can I consent (agree) to follow up services from you without my parents being involved?
  • What are your policies for reporting abuse and neglect?


Confidentiality is the legal term for when information must be kept private. In some cases, health care providers will have to talk to your parents, even when you can consent to care on your own (this means your care is NOT confidential). But in other cases, health care providers cannot give your parents confidential information about your health care without your permission. Be sure to ask about your health care provider about confidentiality before you get care.
Here are some questions you might want to ask your health care provider:
  • Will the insurance or Medicaid bill that gets sent to my parents show what kind of care, exams or tests I had?
  • Are you going to discuss my exam with my parents?
  • How will you contact me?
  • Can I consent (agree) to follow up services from you without my parents being involved?
  • What are your policies for reporting abuse and neglect?


Many health and mental health care providers do not know what the law says about consent and confidentiality for people under age 18. The agency they work for may have policies that are different than what is stated in this brochure.
Here are some questions you might want to ask your health care provider:
  • Will the insurance or Medicaid bill that gets sent to my parents show what kind of exams or tests I had?
  • Can I consent to services on my own?
  • Are you going to discuss my exam with my parents?
  • How will you contact me?
  • Can I consent (agree) to follow up services from you without my parents being involved?
  • What are your policies for reporting abuse and neglect?


Some things cannot be kept confidential. In New Mexico, your healthcare provider will have to make a report to the state if:
  • You are being abused or neglected
  • You are going to hurt yourself or someone else


Your mental health care provider must tell your parents if you chose to take psychotropic medication such as Ritalin, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, and anti-psychotic medication.
If you are 13 and under you can go to School-based Health Centers and Public Health offices on your own for free care. They know how to keep your information confidential.