This article argues that parental objections should not be allowed to block minors from accessing information from government agencies, including schools and libraries. This is particularly important when a mature minor seeks information that is essential to meaningful decisions about the exercise of autonomy rights that are constitutionally protected for teenagers, such as reproductive rights including the right to contraception and abortion. The right to receive information is also implicated where minors seek information to facilitate emerging identity choices that may conflict with those of their parents, such as religion and reliance on medical care. Part I analyzes the nature, scope and origins of the right to receive information under the Speech Clause. Part II applies the minor’s right to receive information in the context of constitutionally protected liberty interests. Part III discusses the importance of the free flow of information in relation to gender discrimination, for example when parents seek to limit what their daughters study.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 536; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 536
Catherine J. Ross, An Emerging Right for Mature Minors to Receive Information, 2 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 223 (1999).