The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/16/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,369 times Debate No: 80985
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (19)
Votes (1)




Should be impossible to accept. Message me if you want to accept.

Resolved: Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices. Definitions are open for debate in-round.

First round is acceptance.


Acceptance ^^
I'm against.
Debate Round No. 1


Part One is the problem.

A new face of childhood terror is sweeping across the metaphorical playground. Bullying has taken on an entirely new approach. No longer is the face of bullying a few thuggish kids on the playground demanding your lunch money, but a more insidious form of bullying from which there is no safe refuge, no escape from the torture. Webster[1]:
  • Cyberbullying refers to bullying through ... technologies ... such as ... text messages, emails, phone calls, internet chat rooms, instant messaging – and ... social networking ... Cyberbullying is a fast growing trend that ... is more harmful than typical schoolyard bullying. Nearly all of us can be contacted 24/7 via the internet or our ... phones. Victims can be reached anytime and anyplace. For many children, home is no longer a refuge from the bullies. “Children can escape threats and abuse in the classroom, only to find text messages and emails from the same tormentors when they arrive home.”
And, this is a problem that's impossible to escape from and impossible to find help for. Victims are afraid to ask for help from their parents or school officials because of the backlash or inability for school officials to help. Agatston et al.[2]:'
  • Students indicated that the majority of the incidents occurred outside of the school day, with the exception of cyber bullying via text messaging. Students indicated that they were unlikely to report cyber bullying to the adults at school, as it ... occurs via ... phone use, and it is against the school policy to have ... phones on during school hours. ... Students also indicated that they did not think the adults at school could help them if they were experiencing cyber bullying. ... students also indicated that they were reluctant to report cyber bullying to parents because they feared the loss of online privileges

Keith and Martin[3] furthers:

  • Part of the problem in combating cyber-bullying ... is that parents and kids relate to technology very differently. ... adults approach computers as practical tools, while for kids the Internet is a lifeline to their peer group. "Cyber-bullying is practically subterranean because it lives in the world of young people," ... Kids ... fear ... not only that the parents' response may make the bullying worse, but that the adults will take the technology away."

And, solving cyberbullying is difficult to do. Anonymity is the bully's primary and most effective weapon, from which there is no escape. Keith and Martin 2:

  • It can be much more difficult to identify bullies in cyberspace. ... screen names ... hide a person’s true identity. It is easier to bully someone you don’t have to face. With no boundaries or tangible consequences, children are using technology to vent ... frustrations in ways that can become very destructive. ... home was a place where a kid could go to escape ... With advances in technology, home is no longer a haven. ... today’s bullies use technology to spread rumors and threats, making life miserable ... throughout the day and night. ... They cannot escape their bully because he can now follow them home. This is the new reality.

Part Two is the Impacts:

Cyberbullying is a serious mental health issue. It creates psychological problems and compounds already existing psychological issues. DeHue et al.[4]:

  • ... being cyberbullied can ultimately result in serious physical, social, and psychological problems, such as serious depressive symptoms and stress. ... It has also been reported that youngsters with depressive symptoms experience more emotional stress as a consequence of being cyberbullied than do youngsters with less or no depressive symptoms.
And, these psychological problems have multiple impacts on adolescents. Weisz et al.[5]:
  • Depression in ... adolescents ... is a significant, persistent, and recurrent public health problem that undermines social and school functioning, generates severe family stress, and prompts significant use of mental health services ... Youth depression is also linked to increased risk of other psychiatric disorders ... as well as drug use and suicide ... which is the third most common cause of death among adolescents ... by the age of 18 years, some 20% of youths will have met criteria for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder at least once ... Prospective longitudinal research has shown substantial continuity of youth depression into adulthood, with impaired functioning in work, social, and family life, and markedly elevated risk of adult suicide attempts and completed suicide ...
And, in the status quo, adolescents aren't getting the help they need to recover. Day and Flynn[6]:
  • The paucity of mental health services means that many children, adolescents, and their families do not receive the psycho-therapeutic treatment that they need. The consequences fo this may be mental illness in adulthood and genearational psychological disturbance and abuse. If ignored, these social and psychological problems do not simply go away. Indeed, they are likely to increase the demands on adult mental health services ... children who have symptoms of depression and anxiety are referred less frequently to mental health serviecs ... yet we know that children and adolescents with symptoms of depression are three times more likely to make a suicide attempt or be hospitalized ...
Part Three is the Solvency:

The plan text is this: The USFG will grant adolescents the medical autonomy to seek treatment for mental health issues without parental concent if necessary.

Autonomy is the key to treatment. Without it, adolescents won't go get treatment. Driggs[7]:
  • Confidentiality is also an issue in the treatment of mental health problems. Some states have recognized the fact that many minors might not seek help with problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and other psychiatric care if parental consent were required. These exceptions to the general rule are considered by some to be an outgrowth of the emergency treatment for minors and the states' role in the protection of minors ... studies indicate ... factors such as family stressors and parental psychopathology may play a part in the mental health care decision. These exceptions are nto absed on the level of maturity of the minor, but rather are based on on the issues of the possible transmission of venereal disease, in increase in teenage pregnancy, and confidentiality.
And, treatment effectively solves the problem. Mallot and Beidel[8]:
  • Most studies and meta-analyses examining treatment outcome reveal consistent support for exposure-based congnitive behavioral therapies (CBTs). In fact, the outcome data are so consistently positive that CBT is recognized as the treatment of choice for adolescents with anxiety disorders ... the core element of CBT are seen as equally applicable to separation anxiety disorder, social phobia, and GAD as these disorders share many features and appear to be distinct from other anxiety disorders.


[1] -
[2] -
[3] -
[4] -'_experiences_and_parental_perception/links/00b49514a0e932ab87000000.pdf
[5] -
[6] - Day, Lesley, BA, MSc (Econ), MSc (Psychotherapy), head of services @ Cassel Hospital, adult psychotherapist, prof @ Brunel University, and Flynn, Denis, Consultant psychotherapist, trained philosopher and social worker, eds. Internal and External Worlds of Children and Adolescents : Collaborative Therapeutic Care. 2003. ProQuest.
[7] - Ann Eileen Driggs, R.N., J.D., “The Mature Minor Doctrine: Do Adolescents Have the Right to Die?” Health Matrix, Vol. 11:687
[8] - Michael A., pf of psychology @ UCF, and Beidel, Deborah C., pf of psychology @ UCF. “Anxiety Disorders in Adolescents.” in Comprehensive Evidence Based Interventions for Children and Adolescents. 2014. Wiley.



Adolescents shouldn't have the right to make medical choices because their parents have had way more experience in life then they have, and during that time, perhaps in the middle of a medical crisis, they probably have a more level head.
Debate Round No. 2


Con's Arguments:

So Con effectively just makes the singular argument that adolescents ought not be able to have autonomy because their parents have more experience so can maybe make a better decision. There's a number of responses I can make to this:

First, Even if you buy that parents are better at making decisions, that doesn't mean that adolescents can't make the decisions themselves. Con needs to be arguing for why adolescents can't make decisions, not why adults are better. Even if adults are better that doesn't mean that adolescents can't make good decisions themselves.

Second, Even if she's showing that adolescents are worse than adults at decision making, that ought not exclude them from rights. If I'm overweight and out of shape, I probably can't complete a marathon. But even though I lack the ability to complete the marathon, I still have the right to sign up and try. Con needs to argue why adolescents being unable to make good decisions means that they should be excluded from rights, and she's not doing that.

Third, neither of the first two responses actually matter because adolescent decision making is empirically provent o be just as good as adult decision making, meaning the experience difference is irrelevant. Sloninat[9]:
  • "empirical research on cognitive development and medical decisions supports Piagetian theory that around age fifteen children have the same decision-making capabilities as an adult ... In a well-known 1982 study ... They took a test group of 96 subjects ... The subjects' responses to question were evaluated and scored by a panel of twenty experts on four standards of competency: evidence of choice, reasonable outcome, rational reasons, and understanding. The results indicated that fourteen-year-olds demonstrated a competency equal to that of eighteen and twenty-oneyear-olds ... the older adolescents ... were able to list a greater number of benefits and risks of the medical treatements and were able to anticipate the consequences of treatment in more abstract manner ... Comparisons of adolescents and adult decision-making with regard to risky behaviors ... have demonstrated that adolescents and adults are equally able to identify possible consequences of risky behavior. In addition, adolescents and adults assess the consequences similarly; they estimate similar probabilities or likelihoods of consequences."
This means that adolescents can make the same decisions as adults, meaning that there's no reason to not to give them rights.

But fourth, cross-apply Agatston et al. and Keith and Martin 1 to this response. Even if adults are able to make better decisions because of their life experiences, they're never in the position to make these decisions because adolescents don't tell their parents about the cyber-bullying, for fear of their parents taking away their internet access and making the bullying worse. The only way to solve this problem is impliment the plan and give adolescents the right to go without parental consent, which means affirm.

And fifth, cross apply Driggs. Without the autonomy to go and seek medical health treatment for mental health issues without their parents knowing, minors are likely to just not go get help at all, which prevents solution to the problem. It doesn't matter how much better the parents decision making is if the adolescent never allows for a decision to be even made by not wanting to go. This means that in order to solve the problem, we need to affirm.

The Plan:

Outside of this sole response, there's literally no response to the entirety of the plan. This means that you can extend across Webster talking about how cyberbullying is a problem. Then extend out DeHue et al. talking about the harms of cyberbullying and Weisz et al. talking about the impacts of those harms. Then extend out the plan-text of granting adolescents the medical autonomy to sek treatment for mental health issues without parental consent if necessary and Mallot and Beidel talking about how treatment is effective at solving for the harms of cyber bullying. All of this goes entirely conceded.


The round breaks down pretty simply. She essentially drops the plan to make a single argument. I'm winning against the argument in five different ways.


Obviously no chance I'm going to win this.
Debate Round No. 3


I guess just extend my arguments since she seems to be giving up at this point?


SongHaGin forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SongHaGin 3 years ago
OKAY, wow. I don't even normally argue like this.
Posted by Lee001 3 years ago
Okay then, if your fine with being stuck in your ways, and arguing poorly, then be my guest.
Posted by SongHaGin 3 years ago
Again, I don't need your comments.
Posted by Lee001 3 years ago
I'm not even saying or thinking anything about your language right now. But it's your argument. Its all based on personal opinion. You don't use any sources to validate your claims...
Posted by SongHaGin 3 years ago
Be quiet. I don't need your peanut gallery comments. My English is fine.
Posted by Lee001 3 years ago
Posted by famousdebater 3 years ago
... woah, that was unexpected.
Posted by Lee001 3 years ago
Lee001 Con -.-
Posted by Lee001 3 years ago
V May want to work on that English first..
Posted by SongHaGin 3 years ago
Has someone accepted already? Because this is part of the real debates that will participate in, I would like to practice.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 3 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con concedes.