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Stud Fam Plann. 2007 Dec;38(4):245-52.

Ethical and human rights perspectives on providers' obligation to ensure adolescents' rights to privacy.

Author information

  • Research for the Global Health Council, USA. karin.ringheim@gmail.com


The rights of adolescents to privacy and confidentiality as stipulated in international human rights conventions are poorly protected in reproductive health-care settings. Fear that their private information will become known, particularly to a parent, has been shown to be a major factor in adolescents' failure to seek the services they need. The tension between parental interests in guiding the development of children and public interest in maintaining a healthy population is considered in light of the ethical principles that bear upon these decisions. In practice, health-care workers are the intermediaries who must ensure that the privacy rights of adolescent clients are protected. They are bound through obligations engendered in human rights conventions as well as by ethical principles, especially that of nonmaleficence, to provide the young with information and confidential services, skills that must be acquired through training. Enhancing the survival of adolescents promotes the greater social good.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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