Resolved: Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.
|Voting Style:||Open||Point System:||7 Point|
|Updated:||6 months ago||Status:||Debating Period|
|Viewed:||347 times||Debate No:||94126|
Resolved: Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.
Adolescent -(of a young person) in the process of developing from a child into an adult.
Ought -Used to indicate adesirableor expected state.
Right -a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.
Autonomous -acting independently or having the freedom to do so.
Medical - of or relating to the science of medicine, or to the treatment of illness and injuries.;of or relating to conditions requiring medical but not surgical treatment.
Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Opening Statements
Round 3 - Rebuttals
Round 4 - Defense
1) No kritiks
2) No plagiarism
3) No forfeitures
4) No troll arguments
5) BoP is on Pro
Note: Violation of these rules on either side is an automatic seven point forfeit to the opponent. (For example, if I violate a rule, my opponent earns all seven points and vice versa.)
Thank you and best of luck.
I will set up some framework, then move on to my contentions.
Framework: This debate will be evaluated on who best upholds life. So if I can prove that more people are kept alive in the con world than are kept alive in the pro world, I should win this debate.
Contention One: Adolescents don"t have as good a knowledge of what is best for the family as do their parents/guardians.
The adolescent often has no knowledge of the family finances, and so should defer to those who do. If adolescents make their own medical decisions, they may choose to have a procedure done that the family is unable to pay for, which would put the whole family into debt and cause them to be unable to pay for something that could keep them alive. Even if the adolescent paid for the medical procedure, it could result in health problems that the adolescent couldn't pay to solve, and that would either kill them (bad) or result in the family paying and being unable to keep themselves alive (bad). Adolescents do not pay for their health care or their health insurance, and the people who do should make those decisions.
Medical is defined, again, as "of or relating to the science of medicine, or the treatment of illness or injury." Looking at the first part of the definition, the science of medicine could include unneeded procedures such as tattoos, piercings, and cosmetic surgeries such as breast enhancements. If the adolescent"s family hardly has enough money for food, as many families in America do today, then how should the family be able to pay for these "optional" operations? Just because the adolescent shouldn"t have the operation done if they can"t pay for it legally doesn"t mean they won"t find illegitimate means to pay, such as stealing from parents. Teens are notorious for being irresponsible, whereas parents can be trusted to make the best possible choice for their child. This is because teens" brains are transitioning from a child"s brain into that of an adult, and the emotional amygdale changes before the frontal lobe, which keeps emotions in check, leading to an imbalance. The imbalance forces that teens, in general, are impulsive and irresponsible because it is harder than usual to avoid acting on emotion, even when that would be foolish to do so.
Contention Two: Not all teens have the brain capacity to make good choices, so they would be best off if adults made choices for them.
The brains of adolescents are not as developed as those of adults, and consequently will not be able to make decisions as well as adults. Research from Temple University states that the brain is not done maturing until well into adulthood. Because of that, the adults should make decisions for their teens. Adolescents are often rebellious, and if they had the right to run off and spite their parents by getting tattoos, piercings, or cosmetic surgery, they might be content at the time but regret it in the future when they are unable to get a job, have a child, or be taken seriously. The parent has already gone through all those things and know what enhancements will hinder the ability to do them well. For example, doctors are often forbidden to have tattoos on their faces because that might scare the patients.
Because teens don't have knowledge of the family finances, and their brains are not fully mature, granting adolescents the right to make autonomous medical choices would not allow for as much preservation of life than exists in the status quo, and thus should not be done. Please vote con!
I. Adolescents don't have as good a knowledge of what is best for the family as do their parents/guardians.
In this argument, my opponent says that adolescents may not have the best knowledge when it comes to the finances of the family. However, I'd like to ask my opponent which is more important: possibly saving an innocent life (or doing what's in their best interests) or the money involved? Most would agree that life trumps finances in almost any situation.
My opponent then claims that the definition of medical can be made to relate to unnecessary procedures such as tattoos, piercings, and cosmetic surgery. However, this isn't quite true. Here's the definition again:
Medical - of or relating to the science of medicine, or to the treatment of illness and injuries.;of or relating to conditions requiring medical but not surgical treatment. 
Tattoos, piercings, and cosmetic surgery are purely for appearance and don't follow this definition.
II. Not all teens have the brain capacity to make good choices, so they would be best off if adults made choices for them.
My opponent says that the brains of adolescents aren't as developed as adults. However, I already explained this in my own arguments. Because of this, I'll repeat most of that argument here.
It’s a common argument that adolescents simply can’t and shouldn’t make important decisions on their well-being because of their age. However, this is simply false. It’s been found that adolescents as young as fourteen can make their own decisions with competence.
“These studies… suggest that adolescents, aged 14 and older, possess the cognitive capability to reason, understand, appreciate, and articulate decisions comparable to young adults. Perhaps more significantly, there is a paucity of scientific or social science study that supports the present legal view of adolescent incapacity. Despite the statistical and scientific evidence, which merits serious consideration by policy makers, the principle of decisional incapacity is the raison d' etre for law and the lack of a coherent legal approach for accommodating adolescent issues.” Another study found that, when comparing people of the age of nine, fourteen, eighteen, and twenty-one, the groups of fourteen-year-olds acted similarly to their adult counterparts when making decisions.  In other words, they can indeed make competent decisions when it comes to their health, despite their age.
Though their brains may not be as developed as their adult counterparts, that doesn't mean that they can't make their own decisions, as proven above.
In short, I've refuted both my opponent's contentions regarding finances and decision making. Thank you. I look forward to my opponent's rebuttals of my arguments. Best of luck. So long and goodnight.
Adolescent Autonomy: Clarifying an Ageless Conundrum" Hastings Law Journal 51 Hastings L.G. 1256. Rhonda Gay, J.D., Ph.D. August 2000.
Firstly, my opponent offered no counter-framework so the debate will be evaluated based on who best upholds life.
My opponent asked me which is more important: saving an innocent life or the money involved. But this clearly shows a lack of understanding of my argument. As I stated in my argument, the lack of understanding of finances causes death. And my opponent also assumes that adolescents can and will make the choice that is in their best interests, but as I stated in my second contention, these adolescents don't actually have the brain control to do so.
My opponent claimed that my argument about cosmetic surgery violated the definition of medical. But this is false. Let me restate the definition to clarify: Medical - of or relating to the science of medicine, OR to the treatment of illness and injuries.; of or relating to conditions requiring medical but not surgical treatment. "Or" is defined by Merriam-Webster as used as a function word to indicate an alternative. So medical could relate to EITHER the science of medicine OR the treatment of illness or injury. Thus, I meet the definition and you should extend my arguments.
On my second contention: My opponent counters my argument that adolescents don't have developed brains by citing their argument that adolescents "as young as fourteen" can make decisions the same way as adults. So our evidence conflicts. I have three responses to this. (1) Prefer my evidence because my study looks at the brains of adolescents while my opponent's study just looks at a small isolated group of adolescents. So my study is better because it is applicable to more people, as well as being in a real-world setting outside of the lab. (2) Prefer my evidence because it is from a more credible source than my opponent's evidence. Their evidence is from a topic brief which may or may not use actual, credible evidence. My study links directly to a university institution which can be trusted to do credible research. (3) Even if you believe my opponent's evidence, it only claims that adolescents ages fourteen and over should be able to make autonomous medical choices. But the definition my opponent provides in their case talks about adolescents as young as ten. If ten to fourteen-year-olds don't have the right to make autonomous medical choices, it is not really giving all adolescents the right to do so and you should negate. So in this way my opponent's study actually benefits my case.
I also never claim to support adolescents being tried as adults in law, which is my opponent's other main argument.
Let's move on to my opponent's case. I have already responded to their first contention while talking about my case. So I don't need to talk about that again. Moving to their second contention. My opponent talks about the UN Declaration of human rights. They claim that the right to free expression means that they should be granted the right to make autonomous medical choices. But let's flesh out what this right to free expression really means.
"The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice."
This has nothing to do with the right to make medical choices, only to express their wishes and have information. But even if you don't buy that, this "right" makes no sense. Children have the right to access to information of all kinds? So, does this mean that a parent cannot prevent a young child from accessing pornography? Or websites where drugs are sold? This right makes no sense.
My opponent's third contention talks about how adolescents want to be involved in the decision making process. But would you prefer that these adolescents make a choice that results in their death or that they are slightly less involved but stay alive? Most people would say that life is better, and as this round is evaluated on who best promotes life, it is clear that that is the correct choice.
I have proven many times over that I protect lives much better than my opponent does. Thus, please vote con!
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