Do I have the right to access and receive health services as a student?
YES. In California, students have many rights when it comes to accessing health services. In fact, California has some of the strongest laws in the country that protect your right to access certain health care services, including reproductive and sexual health services, on a confidential basis. These services are sometimes called “confidential medical services.”
Does my age affect what types of medical services I can access as a student?
YES. In California, students of any age have the right to access birth control (including emergency contraception), pregnancy testing and prenatal care, abortion services, and rape, abuse, or assault services confidentially and without needing anyone else’s permission.
If you are 12 years of age or older, you also have the right to access mental health and drug or alcohol treatment, as well as prevention, testing, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS confidentially and without needing anyone else’s permission.
It is your right to get these health services confidentially. This means the clinic or doctor cannot tell anyone — including your family — why you were there unless you say it’s okay.
Do I need to bring my parent to come with me to access these medical services?
NO. Minors are allowed to consent to these medical services on their own. However, if you can, and it is safe to do so, we encourage you to talk to your parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
In California, you have the right to free or low-cost reproductive health care if you don’t have insurance, do not want to use your parent’s or spouse’s insurance, or can’t afford it on your own. Learn more at our website, yourhealthyourights.org. If you are under your parent or guardian’s insurance plan, you might have to take action to keep your health information confidential. Learn more. Note that doctors are required to report certain situations, such as sexual assault or rape, to both the authorities and your parent or guardian after treatment is provided.
Can I go see a doctor during school hours to access these specific services?
YES. California law requires schools to excuse students for certain medical appointments, such as those above. Schools must keep information about your appointment confidential, even from parents. Your school must let you go to your appointment and cannot notify your parents or try to get their permission.
Your school can call the doctor or clinic to confirm you have an appointment and the appointment’s time (but cannot ask about the kind of care you are receiving). Your teachers must allow you to make up any missed assignments. Learn more.