Legal Problems Involved in the Prescription of Contraceptives to Unmarried Minors in Alberta


  • Richard J. Gilborn



Mr. Gilborn 's article deals with the thorny problem of the prescription of contraceptives to unmarried minors. In order to appreciate the legal difficulties involved in the area, an examination of the ability of minors to consent to medical treatment in general is undertaken. Using the 'mature minor' rule, as a base, it has to be considered whether the treatment involved is such as to fall within its scope. The article then examines the various ways in which a doctor might be made liable. The author considers possible civil liability, criminal and quasi-criminal liability under the Criminal Code and the Food and Drug Act, and finally the issue of whether the prescription of contraceptives could be viewed as contributing to juvenile delinquency under the Juvenile Delinquents Act. Lastly, the article considers the possibility of disciplinary proceedings launched by professional bodies as a possible risk in the prescription of contraceptives. The article concludes with a series of recommendations as to how the law in this area may berendered more clear not only in the field of the prescription of contraceptives but in the area of a minor's ability to consent to medical treatment in general.