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A grandparent has the right to claim visitation with the child when he or she can intervene in an ongoing child custody case or the family is not “intact.” When there is an ongoing child custody case, a grandparent may intervene in the proceeding and file suit for custody or visitation. A case is resolved through a settlement agreement or court order. In general, a grandparent has a right to custody when he or she can show that both parents are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parents.Once the case is resolved through a settlement or permanent child custody order, there remains no ongoing case and the grandparent may not intervene to seek visitation. The grandparent win custody merely by showing the grandchild would be better served in the grandparent’s custody or that it is in the best interests of the child.
The same is not true for abortion, notwithstanding research suggesting that policies mandating parental involvement in either case present asignificant threat to teenagers' health andwell-being.
New laws and policies at the state and federal levels began to allow teenagers to consent to reproductive health services and to ensure that services would be delivered confidentially when requested.
And in the late 1970s, the Supreme Court in successive decisions extended the constitutional right to privacy to a minors decision to both obtain contraceptives and choose an abortion.
Parents generally have the legal authority to make medical decisions on behalf of their minor children, on the basis that young people typically lack the maturity and judgment to make fully informed decisions before they reach the age of majority (18 in most states).
Exceptions to this rule have long existed, such as when medical emergencies leave no time to obtain parental consent and in cases where a minor is "emancipated" by marriage or other circumstances and thus can legally make decisions on his or her own behalf.