105 Kids and the Law PROTECTIVE CUSTODY A police officer may take a child into custody who the police officer believes is incapacitated due to intoxication. This is called protective custody. For pur- poses of this law a child is incapacitated when they have drunk so much alco- hol that they are: • unconscious, • in need of medical attention, • likely to suffer or cause physical or property damage, or • disorderly. This may occur with or without the child’s consent. The child taken into cus- tody is not considered to have been arrested or to have been charged with any crime or delinquent act. The police officer may take the child to their home, to a health care facility, or to a police station. At the police station, the child has a right to take a breath test and make a telephone call. If the child taken into custody is under the age of 18, the parent or guardian must be notified. Upon the request of the parent or guardian, the police or health care facility must release the child. A child cannot be held in protective custody at a police station against their will for more than 12 hours. The laws pertaining to protective custody are found in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 111B. CONSENT TO ABORTION Can a minor (less than 18 years old) legally terminate her pregnancy in Massachusetts? If she is not married, she must provide a physician with the written permission of a parent or guardian or a court order authorizing the procedure or prescrip- tion. According to Massachusetts law, in deciding whether to give consent, a parent or guardian shall consider only what is in the minor’s best interests. This law is not the same in all states. Medical Issues 9