The Instigator
Republican95
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
destructor
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Minors should be required to get parental approval before getting an abortion.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,834 times Debate No: 8339
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

Republican95

Pro

Minor-Someone under the age of 18

I believe that minors should be required to get permission from their parents to receive an abortion. I believe this because minors are children, children are under the supervision of their parents. Children are not capable of making any decisions for themselves without the input of their parents. Abortion is no different. Parents have a right to know what is going on in the lives of their children. Since a minor is still being cared for by the parent; then parents have to right to either grant or not grant an abortion without input from their daughter.
destructor

Con

Firstly I must admit this is a widely debated issue. This issue becomes more clear once it is looked at in depth and with reason.

There are numerous categories that fall under abortion
-to terminate a pregnancy that will be detrimental to a mothers health/life (medical abortion)
-to terminate an unwanted pregnancy (medical abortion)
-a biologically driven miscarriage (voluntary/involuntary) (spontaneous abortion)
-car accident (involuntary), throwing self down the stairs (voluntary) (non-medical; non-biological spontaneous abortion)

I will proceed with the assumption that PRO is referring to medical abortions (permission for a car accident or a miscarriage is a silly thing to request and not always necessary). Before I overview PRO's arguments lets consider why medical abortions are carried out. Medical abortions are carried out by physicians, in order to preserve a mother's life, or to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

PRO states that "Children are not capable of making any decisions for themselves without the input of their parents."
Where should I begin. Children can decide if they want to tie their left shoe or right shoe first. They can decide without anyone's help if they want to drink a glass of milk or laser-shooting-bees on fire.
However I understand you may be referring to the maturity level of children in regards to an unfamiliar situation and that the decision might not be at their level and so the parents make the decision. HOWEVER this is only one side of the story. Physicians assess the maturity of minors requesting an abortion. The process is normal in every physician-patient encounter and involves the physician assessing the patient's "capacity, and decision making potential". They will talk to the minor and analyze if she can understand the consequences of her action and decisions. This process determines if the patient has the POTENTIAL to make her own decisions or not (whether it is for/against abortion). If the physician determines that the patient has the capacity to make a decision then the physician may respect the patient's decision over that of the parents (because the patient is the patient, the physician is responsible to the patient first). But in most cases the physician will try and accept a decision that will benefit the patient the most.
The physicians also recognize patient-physician confidentiality clauses. (in U.S.A these vary from state-to-state regarding abortion for minors). Thus for a patient who has decision making capacity regarding abortion, it may not be required for the physician to inform the parents, yet alone get their permission.

Parents have legal rights over their children to some limited/reasonable extent. However if their decisions/actions (not respecting the daughter's own decision) will result in harm to their daughter (ie not wanting to abort a pregnancy that may kill their daughter), then the physician can take legal action against the parents and child services agencies and the court will also get involved in the decision making.

Im confident about my sources that I will not cite any, however I will cite them once you challenge them.
Debate Round No. 1
Republican95

Pro

I would like to start by rebutting my opponent's claims.

My opponent claims that "Physicians assess the maturity of minors requesting an abortion. The process is normal in every physician-patient encounter and involves the physician assessing the patient's "capacity, and decision making potential."

However, this is only true in some situations. No law at the state or national level require that doctor's make such assessments. And these moral standards are often not followed by organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood grants abortions willy-nilly to any teenage girl who walks into one of their clinics (even if she was impregnated by a much older man) without assessing their mental capability. And even if children are "capable" of making this decision, that doesn't mean that the parents should be silenced. Parents should always have to approve the decisions of their children, because that's what they are: children.

"If the physician determines that the patient has the capacity to make a decision then the physician may respect the patient's decision over that of the parents (because the patient is the patient, the physician is responsible to the patient first)."

That may be true, but shouldn't the patient (if she is a minor) respect her parent's decisions? I believe that all parents know what is in the best interest of their children, no matter what the circumstances. I do understand that abortion can be life-threatening: which is exactly why children should not be left to tend to it. Instead, parents (who are more experienced in such affairs) shall make a decision that they think will most benefit their daughter.

"The physicians also recognize patient-physician confidentiality clauses. (in U.S.A these vary from state-to-state regarding abortion for minors). Thus for a patient who has decision making capacity regarding abortion, it may not be required for the physician to inform the parents, yet alone get their permission."

Just because the law states that doesn't make the law correct. And children, in my opinion, (and I am a child) cannot represent themselves adequately when it comes to such mature matters like abortion. Children are children; they are naive, ignorant, and a lot of the time do not know their best interests. Because of this parents should be involved in every step of the children receiving an abortion.

Thank you for reading my arguments and I wish you luck with yours.
destructor

Con

Excellent debate, however think outside of the box, not so rigidly.

Here are some things for you to consider
-Parents CANNOT simply decide to refuse a medical treatment that is determined to be necessary and essential for their daughter by a physician (such as a medical abortion) (or in the case of this news article from this week, lymphoma) The judge will base this on the patient's wishes (decision) and the patient's best interest (health - regardless of parents choice)
http://news.yahoo.com...

Now the PRO's argument mainly surround the assumption that

1/2/3/4) summary
"quote from PRO"

1) physicians don't assess the maturity of the patient in regards to decision making
"However, this is only true in some situations. No law at the state or national level require that doctor's make such assessments."
2) minor's are not mature enough to make important decisions
"Children are children; they are naive, ignorant, and a lot of the time do not know their best interests. Because of this parents should be involved in every step of the children receiving an abortion."
"Parents should always have to approve the decisions of their children, because that's what they are: children"
3) patient-physician confidentiality does not have to be upheld simply because the law says so.
"Just because the law states that doesn't make the law correct."
4) parents are knowledgeable to make the decision whether the daughter needs abortion more than a physician.
"I believe that all parents know what is in the best interest of their children, no matter what the circumstances. I do understand that abortion can be life-threatening: which is exactly why children should not be left to tend to it. Instead, parents (who are more experienced in such affairs) shall make a decision that they think will most benefit their daughter"

Here is my response to the numbered arguments above
****** you need to consider one thing, this is real-life, not a cliche made up world. you cannot say "parents know whats best" or "parents make decision for kids because kids cant make decisions"

1) "Physicians assess the capacity of their patients in every patient encounter" it is the first sentence of the following publication
Tunzi, 2001, "Can the Patient Decide? Evaluating Patient Capacity in Practice" Journal of American Family Physician
http://www.aafp.org...
2)
i) the above journal article also states that adolescents under 18 are also assessed for decision making capacity (maturity, brains, smartness, knowing good or bad, whatever you may call it) and can make decisions on their own.
ii) as well, the following publication by the ACLU indicates that a minor patient can go against the wishes of the parents in regards to abortion
http://books.google.com...
3) Patient-physician confidentiality is widely accepted and is meant to protect the patient. I wont cite any sources because this is very common knowledge (google search).
as well the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that breaking minor's privacy in regards to abortion hurts the health of minors overall since less will trust doctors later on and seek for treatment.
http://www.patientprivacyrights.org... (bottom of page)
4) I will simply disagree with the PRO'S argument that parents can be better judges than physicians in regards to when a medical abortion is necessary to terminate an ill pregnancy that can physically harm the child. (physicans KNOW about the necessity of medical abortion more than parents)
Debate Round No. 2
Republican95

Pro

Thank you for that round.

My opponent claims "Parents CANNOT simply decide to refuse a medical treatment that is determined to be necessary and essential for their daughter by a physician (such as a medical abortion) (or in the case of this news article from this week, lymphoma) The judge will base this on the patient's wishes (decision) and the patient's best interest (health - regardless of parents choice)"

My opponent would like you to believe that abortion is "essential" to the health of the patient. I do understand that children who are pregnant could face sever medical complications during their term, but abortion is just as dangerous. Abortions could leave to future ectopic pregnancies (a mother has a 12% chance of dieing in an ectopic pregnancy), women who abort are 50% more vulnerable to breast cancer, Abruptio Placenta which is when the sac holding the baby (the placenta) tears away from the uterine lining. This can result in extreme and severe life-threatening bleeding. Women who have experienced abortion have a 600% increase in their risk for Abruptio Placenta in future pregnancies, emotional distress including:
* acute feeling of grief
* depression
* anger
* fear of disclosure
* preoccupation with babies or getting pregnant again
* nightmares
* sexual dysfunction
* termination of relationships
* emotional coldness
* increased alcohol and drug abuse
* eating disorders
* anxiety
* flashbacks of the abortion procedure
* anniversary syndrome
* repeat abortions
* suicide
Many of these women go on to report that they regret their choice and would do anything to go back and undo the decision that resulted in so much pain.

ramahinternational.org/abortion_risks.htm

So, a lot of harm is done by receiving an abortion. And judges (complete strangers) shouldn't be able to dictate to parents what is in the best interests of THEIR children.

My opponent claims "you need to consider one thing, this is real-life, not a cliche made up world. you cannot say "parents know whats best" or "parents make decision for kids because kids cant make decisions"

Well, I think that parents are certainly more educated in the field of abortion when compared to their teenage daughters. And even if that daughter consults with a doctor, that doctor cannot deny that teenage girl an abortion under law. If parents are permitted to, parents can.

Opponent: "Physicians assess the capacity of their patients in every patient encounter"
However, this is not mandated by any law. Which means their is no penalty for doctors who do not access the mental capability of their patients. And if it is not mandated by law, then doctors don't have to comply with that unwritten "moral code".

Opponent: "as well, the following publication by the ACLU indicates that a minor patient can go against the wishes of the parents in regards to abortion"

The ACLU? Please, you must be kidding me. The American Civil Liberties Union is of course going to favor the "Civil Liberties" of the mother.

Opponent: "I will simply disagree with the PRO'S argument that parents can be better judges than physicians in regards to when a medical abortion is necessary to terminate an ill pregnancy that can physically harm the child. (physicians KNOW about the necessity of medical abortion more than parents)"
The question of "necessity" is established above.
However, parents know more about the morals and such they enforce in their home. And if they don't want their daughter to receive an abortion, she shouldn't.
destructor

Con

thanks opponent

I dont believe abortion is essential to the health of a pregnant minor
I do believe abortion is essential to the health of a pregnant minor if it is deemed necessary by a physician (in the case where the patient will face severe complications if the pregnancy is not aborted)
I do agree with my opponent that there are risks associated with abortion (such as the ones outlined by my opponent) (I am certain physicians balance the benefits and costs before suggesting abortion, thus when medical abortion is suggested it is to the benefit of the patient)
I dont agree with my opponent that parents know when an abortion is necessary, more than doctors do

the question of family morals is a different issue. a parent shouldnt be forcing their morals on a competent/capable minor whose actions/wishes are in contrary to the parent's morals.
my opponent claims that judges (the law) should not over ride a parent's decision in regards to a child's health
my opponent claims that parents' decision should be absolute.

sample case:
-M is the mother of daughter D. D has an easily treatable brain cancer that is soon fatal without treatment. The mother does not agree with physicians that D needs to undergo medical treatment. M believes that her parenthood has complete control over her daughter D, and she knows whats best for her She might think cancer is a natural event and they shouldnt interfere with nature, they should toughen up and ride it out. This is what they morally believe. She likes to sing and dance the cancer away by singing to her daughter and treat by rubbing tea on the daughter's head. Doctors are suggesting medical treatment.
Outcome-1: if the daughter HAS NO competence in regards to her condition/future and accepting the medical treatment, then the parents are abusing their daughter by not accepting the medical treatment and jeopardizing their daughter's life. Since the daughter can not comprehend her situation, and the parent's decision is not in the best interest of the daughter.
Outcome-2: if the daughter HAS competence in regards to her condition/future and accepting the medical treatment, and decides to ACCEPT, then the parents should not override their competent daughter's decision.
Outcome-3: if the daughter HAS competence in regards to her condition/future and accepting the medical treatment, and decides to DENY, then a competent person has made an informed decision. You cant force a competent patient to undergo treatment.

==============================
The way I see it, my opponent has issues with the concept of a 'competent minor'. I am arguing that minors are evaluated by their physician before big decisions, in regards to the decision making capacity, competence, and understanding of their options/decisions/choices. If they are deemed mature/competent with reasonable understanding of their actions, then they are looked at similar to an autonomous person with valid choices. Being an autonomous person gives them the same right in regards to patient-physician confidentiality.
Debate Round No. 3
Republican95

Pro

I do grasp the idea of a "competent minor".

But isn't a child going behind their parents back to receive something might object to wrong? I'm not saying that parents can deny an abortion (if a doctor requests it); I'm just saying that parents should be involved in the process.
destructor

Con

The just of my argument is that in the case of requesting a legally possible abortion, a competent and informed person's decision-making right should not be taken away. And this means that they dont have to get other people involved and get their permission.
I also need to say that physicians DEFINITELY encourage the minor to talk things over with their parents or people they trust (their social support group). However the minor may have good reasons for not wanting the parents involved.
Lets consider some cases that a minor might not want to get permission from her parents.
-1) abusive parents that will do harm to her if they find out
-2) the minor is a runaway and has been away from her parent's for a long duration (they consider each other strangers)
-3) the minor has made a simple mistake and does not want things between her and her parent's to change (looking at her differently and adjusting their relationship with their daughter)
-4) minor has bad relations with her parents
Debate Round No. 4
Republican95

Pro

Republican95 forfeited this round.
destructor

Con

Good luck voters.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
In most states a school cannot give an aspirin to a child without parental consent on the grounds that minors are not competent to make medical decisions. I think that aspirin is overdoing it, but for abortion decisions there should be parental consent, as preserving the well-being of the child is primarily the responsibility.

Where Con wins the argument is the exceptions. The most compelling is the case of abusive parents, in which a Court may assume jurisdiction with respect to both consent and notification. Also, I didn't see mentioned the case where the parents are absent. There are other exceptions. Pro might have won by crafting some exceptions into the resolution.

Con wins conduct by Pro's default. Pro wins spelling and grammar, as Con sort of deteriorated during the debate.
Posted by sherlockmethod 8 years ago
sherlockmethod
Con has a plethra of evidence against the pro position concerning the legal issues here. Pro's comments concerning tubal preg. are not correct. Con should run with this debate, but needs to stay focused. This will be interesting.
Posted by snelld7 8 years ago
snelld7
I believe Pro is confusing "children" with todlers.

The "children" in this situation are old enough to have sex and get pregnant... meaning they're PERFECTLY capable of making important decisions. Where then, do parents get the right to tell an adolescent woman what to do with her body?

By the same reasons we allow 18 and older women to choose... we should allow teenagers to choose. To think that a teen is not able to make decisions regarding long term affects would be contrary to School, driving, voting, etc.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by snelld7 8 years ago
snelld7
Republican95destructorTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Republican95destructorTied
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