- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island lawmakers have voted to give teens who are pregnant the power to consent to their own medical care.

The bills were among a wave of legislation passed on the legislature’s last day Saturday.

Democratic Rep. Joseph McNamara and Democratic Sen. Gayle Goldin sponsored the legislation. It allows any person to consent to medical services that relates to birth.

Dr. Emily White, who testified for adopting the legislation, says there are often times when pregnant teens can’t get the right care because they have to wait for their parent’s consent.

Rhode Island’s teen pregnancy rate reached a historic low in 2015, according to Kids Count Factbook. Five percent of babies that year were born to mothers under 20.

State officials say 37 states have similar laws.

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