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In addition to making exceptions to the general rule requiring informed consent for specific medical treatments, states will often allow minors to consent to medical treatment on the basis of their status—whether they are considered emancipated from their parents. Most states determine a child has reached the age of majority and is emancipated from his or her parents upon reaching the age of 18, although in Alabama and Nebraska, 19 is considered the age of majority, and in Pennsylvania it is 21. Mississippi has the age of majority at 21, but 18 as the age of consent for health care decisions.

Beyond age, courts can declare a minor emancipated from their parents and thus able to issue consent, if they meet certain conditions, including self-sufficiency, living separate and apart from the parents, receiving money from a business activity not related to the parents, and proven capability of managing their own affairs. Married and divorced minors are often considered automatically emancipated, as are minors on active duty with the armed forces. In addition, minor parents are allowed to make medical decisions for their children. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, this consent is explicitly authorized.

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