If you’re 14 or over, you can get birth control and abortions without your guardians knowing. Doctors and nurses can’t tell them because your file is confidential.
Confidentiality means that your guardians can’t see your medical file and won’t find out what you and doctors/nurses talked about. Once you’re 14, your file is almost always confidential for medical services like…
- Prescriptions for drugs like the abortion pill (which is also called a medical abortion), morning after pill, or birth control
- Minor medical procedures like abortions or IUD insertions
- STI testing or any other kind of testing
- Seeing a doctor, nurse, or a therapist
But if you’re 14 to 17, there are times when doctors can tell your guardians some of your medical information. Check what and when they can tell your parents or guardians here.
If you’re under 14, the situation might be a bit more complicated. In general, the law says you need your guardians’ permission to see a doctor, get a prescription, or have an abortion. But there are ways for you to get some of these!
Getting abortion pills or birth control at a pharmacy?
If you get a prescription for abortion pill and birth control from a doctor or nurse, you’ll need to pick it up at a pharmacy.
You only need a RAMQ medical card to get the abortion pill for free at a pharmacy. And it’s confidential if you’re 14 or over. But you might need to pay for birth control drugs.
A lot of people use health insurance to pay less for their prescriptions or even get them for free! This insurance is different from RAMQ medicare. If you use your guardians’ private insurancen to pay for the birth control, there’s a chance they could see the charge on their bill. But if they use the Public Prescription Drug Plan, it’s also confidential once you’re 14. You can check with the pharmacy if you are on the public plan and give them your RAMQ card.
If you are under 14, things can be complicated…
If you’re under 14, you need permission from a parent or guardian to get an appointment, procedure, or prescription for birth control. Your confidentiality is not protected. That means that your guardians can ask a doctor, nurse or therapist to tell them what you talked about. They can also ask to read your medical file or see the results of pregnancy or STI tests.
One way to protect your confidentiality is by choosing clinics that let you stay anonymous. Such clinics won’t ask for your name and are not attached to your medical record. Unfortunately, only a few clinics let you stay anonymous. In Montreal, the Head & Hands clinic is one of these clinics and it can see you anonymously if you’re 12 or 13.
Abortions and people under 14
If you’re pregnant and you’re under 14, the law says that your guardians get to decide if you can get an abortion. They still have to keep your best interest in mind and listen to what you want. This situation can be hard, and it may help to talk about it with friends or an adult you trust, like a nurse or a counselor.
If you and your guardians disagree on what’s best for you, you can ask a court to make the decision. Judges can let people get or avoid abortions if they’re under 14, even if their guardians disagree.