Instigator / Pro
Points: 1

Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 1 vote the winner is ...
Lucy
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Society
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Winner selection
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
5,000
Contender / Con
Points: 0
Description
Resolution
Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.
Definitions
Adolescents: Young adults who have not reached the age of majority, from approximately age 13 to 17. This cut-off is somewhat arbitrary but covers the most controversial period.
Ought: Implying moral obligation or duty
Right: We would do wrong to infringe upon an adolescent's ability to make an autonomous medical decision.
Autonomous: Freedom to act independently, in this case independently of parents/guardians/caregivers/etc.
Medical: Anything relating to the field of medicine, whether medication, surgery, therapy, vaccination, etc., that is legally prescribed/performed/administered by an appropriately licensed medical professional following the relevant guidelines.
If you take issues with any of these definitions, let me know in the comments or a PM and we can work them out.
Note that the character limit is 5000. I believe shorter character limits make us better debaters and writers.
Structure
I don't believe in restrictive structures, but here's a suggestion and what I will likely follow
R1: Opening arguments
R2 & R3: Rebuttals
R4: Conclusion
Round 1
Published:
Of all the promises we make to each other, there is none so sacred, so ubiquitous, as the Hippocratic Oath. It is integral to Western mythology, and while the famous phrase "do no harm" is often not said, the spirit of the oath lives on. We all recognize that doctors must conform to high standards of confidentiality, humility, and sensitivity to patients' unique situations, for by their actions people may live or die. This includes children and adolescents.

Yet, the care of children/adolescents presents unique challenges. Children are usually dependent upon parents or guardians for support, and in some cases, children may disagree with their parents about their care. The anti-vaxxer controversy is a flash point, as the high risks of non-vaccination have driven several children to get vaccinated in secret, and forced states to grapple with the situation. Others who are deprived access suffer, like the child who contracted tetanus, nearly died, and was still not vaccinated afterward. Abortion and gender-affirming care are high-profile issues, too.

What is a doctor, what is a state, what is a parent, what is a child to do? The purpose of providing care to anyone is primarily to promote their health, their welfare. This house believes that, for the welfare of the child, adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical decisions.

My case is simple: Privacy is essential for safe and effective medicine, and privacy requires autonomy.

Privacy

Since the Hippocratic Oath, one idea has endured, that it is shameful to air the dirty laundry of patients to the world. Privacy allows us to get the care we need from doctors without being punished. We do not always extend this privacy to children, and the result is often that a child must choose between their health and their safety. Over half of US trans people have resorted to non-prescribed hormones, at least some of which were adolescents. And being outed can be dangerous, as 15% of trans people were kicked out of the house for being trans, while others experienced outright violence (65). Faced with family conflict and inability to access care, the only option for some children is to order hormones online, from sketchy and unregulated pharmacies. This carries extreme risks, from adulterated products that don't work to outright dangerous medicine that may result in death. We must give adolescents privacy for these personal medical decisions, as a lack of privacy leads to abuse from some families for seeking care.

Privacy requires autonomy, as no one can have private care unless they have autonomy. If care requires parental consent, it necessarily isn't private.

Privacy works. Abortion is a prime example. In one survey, among teens who received abortions without parental knowledge, 22% did so because they feared being kicked out of the house. As a society, our choice is not between allowing adolescents to abort and forbidding it. It is a choice between allowing them to do it safely or ostracizing them, isolating them, and driving them to dangerous choices, as the status quo used to be.

Conclusion: Playing God

To deny adolescents their autonomy is to state that parents are better equipped to make decisions about the adolescent's own health. In the case of young children, this is frequently true. But the picture is more complicated for adolescents. Take abortion, gender-affirming care, and vaccines. Again, the scientific consensus is that legal abortion is safer than illegal abortion, that gender-affirming care done through the proper channels is safer and more effective than DIY, and that vaccines are safe and effective.

It is one thing for someone to refuse safe and effective treatment. It is another thing entirely for someone to refuse it for someone else. Parents have many rights when it comes to the care of their children. But they do not and should not have the right to play God. This doesn't mean that decisions should be made by an impersonal State or physicians who aren't a part of kids' daily lives. It means that, faced with complex medical issues, the adolescent must be given their say. They are not personal property, they are people with their own needs. They should not be subjected to the whims of their caretakers. Adolescents make some bad decisions about their health care. Parents make some bad decisions about their children's healthcare. But children have far more at stake than parents. Parents may endure emotional distress, and typically care deeply for their children, but children have their whole livelihoods on the line. The lives of children matter, and their welfare outweighs any other concern when it comes to their treatment. Their welfare requires privacy, and thus autonomy, to deal with these difficult issues.

Thank you to my opponent for accepting this debate, and I look forward to the arguments to come.
Published:
Of all relationships we have with each other, there is none so special and important as the relationship between a parent and a child.

The parent’s role is to provide and care for, teach, raise, and protect the child, and one day set them free into the real world. Yet some children, especially adolescents, wish to be set free early, before they are properly educated, developed, or prepared for the real world.

Parents love and know their child better than anyone else, and, as an adult, can care for and make decisions for their child better than anyone else. And the child might disagree. They may disagree just slightly, or very strongly, about a medical decision.
Parents often talk it out with their children, but sometimes these disagreements last. These lasting disagreements could just be a mere opinion, but it is more easily the heated disagreements, the ones over emotional, pressured, and important decisions, that last. And when something so important is presented to an emotional, pressured, adolescent, who is not yet fully mature or knowledgeable about things and the world in which they are making decisions, they are more likely to make the wrong decision.

Parents inform their children of their superior knowledge, understanding, and judgement, yet sometimes they don’t listen. Some philosophies, as one might interpret them, don’t necessarily believe this is an illogical response to such a lecture, which might explain the frequency of such a reaction, and others must only conclude the child is irrational (or that they are a peer to or more well-equipped than their parents to make a decision or hold a belief).

Society knows, too, that children cannot always be trusted to be free for themselves. Does society trust adolescents to choose where to continue education, or not to? Or ever allow them the choice to drink, (which will too often mean binge drinking), have sex, or do drugs before they are 17? Typically, no. Do you? Hopefully, not. And if adolescents aren’t trusted with such basic decisions about their future or bodies, it follows that they also ought not to make the more complex ones.

Now, this does not mean all parents make the most rational decisions. But, trusting either the parent or the child for what’s best for the child, the parent more often than not will know best. A parent might make a decision over a deeply-held political belief, as you were referencing, something that is controversial. But keeping politics aside, as well as parental rights over their child, this would not imply to give children the right to decide, but the government.

It is also simply impractical to allow children to make autonomous medical decisions. Privacy is impractical, and a parent can not properly care for a child when they do not know their own child’s needs. With that, a child most likely is unprepared to support their own decisions and may not take the proper steps or be able to pay financially, and a parent can not guide them and teach them in making a decision. As you can see the child is not yet ready and the parent is not able to do their job.

So tell me, should we give children such freedom over their own being and wellness when their parents are still caring for them, and they are not yet prepared to care for themselves? When their parents are still raising and guiding them, and they are not mentally independent? Or even when their parents are still teaching them, they are still learning and highly uninformed from the real world, and surrounded by peer pressure? I think not, and we must keep this relationship sacred until the child becomes truly independent, mentally and practically. If we allow children to make autonomous medical decisions, we are restricting parents from doing their (well-needed) jobs.

Note that I am following the recommended structure; this is my opening argument, and I am ready to further refute more in later arguments.
Also, sorry I'm approximately a minute from the deadline. I guess I could've made better decisions. I would write more if I could.


Round 2
Published:
My opponent accurately describes parental relationships. Providing care, teaching, protecting... all of these are duties we assign to parents. Adolescents do make some terrible and short-sighted decisions, while parents generally have more perspective (on medical issues there are caveats). I agree wholeheartedly, and this does not affect my case.

A note: Con offers many sources that aren't clearly developed or tied into his case (see his second sentence). There are too many to rebut here, and while I take issue with several, there is no point to doing so until he lays out their impacts. I will save criticism of sources until my next round.

Con repeatedly brings up peer pressure, so let's look into it. A meta-analysis found that between ages 13 to 18, resistance to peer pressure increased from 2.9 to 3.2 on a 4-point scale and leveled off thereafter. That's not trivial, but it also isn't that significant.

Society knows, too, that children cannot always be trusted to be free for themselves . . . if adolescents aren’t trusted with such basic decisions about their future or bodies, it follows that they also ought not to make the more complex ones.
The paternal drive to "protect us from freedom" is understandable in the case of adolescents. They make some poor, short-sighted decisions. Yet sex, alcohol, and the other examples Con cites are still risky in adulthood, and we do not ban or advocate banning these among adults, even if an adult is living a life we find horrible or depraved and even if they have not considered the consequences of their actions. Freedom to make something of your own life is one of the most important freedoms an individual can have, and should not be abridged lightly. 

It happens that despite our laws against underage alcohol consumption, despite our attempts to stop young people from having sex or abortions, adolescents make their own decisions. By the end of eighth grade, 26.1% of adolescents have tried alcohol. By the end of twelfth grade, 64.0% of adolescents have tried it. Adolescents make basic decisions all the time whether we trust them or not. They are not programmable robots, and they are not stupid. Again: When we prevent trans people from getting hormones, they get them online. When we prevent pregnant teens from getting abortions, they get them illegally. If the law is meant to protect these people, it's doing a terrible job. It forces them to choose between bad options to maintain their health.

Giving adolescents medical autonomy is the least bad option. A lack of autonomy forces teens to go through with pregnancies, forces trans people to endure worsening dysphoria and sketchy medicine, and risks exposing adolescents to deadly but preventable illnesses due to nothing but the religious convictions of the parents.

Privacy is impractical, and a parent can not properly care for a child when they do not know their own child’s needs. With that, a child most likely is unprepared to support their own decisions and may not take the proper steps or be able to pay financially, and a parent can not guide them and teach them in making a decision.
The general right to privacy is "impractical". The requirement that police obtain warrants for searches, for example, makes it harder to obtain evidence against criminals. We must balance the importance of privacy with the other concerns we have. Thus far, there is scant evidence to suggest the balance here is in Con's favor. As I've shown, respecting medical privacy is in line with tradition and keeps patients safer.

Note that a child with privacy and autonomy is still able to consult their parents. They just aren't forced to. When they don't consult their parents, they may still rely on their medical providers, who are qualified to help, for guidance. Given my opponent's fear of adolescents making uninformed decisions, it would be better for them to seek guidance from medical professionals than to rely on questionably informed parents. When some parents consider preventable diseases "the work of God", is deferring to the parents over the consensus of the scientific community justifiable?

Cost is not an argument against autonomy, but a pragmatic barrier to it. One can have the right to independence in medical matters without accessing care. While interesting, this discussion isn't relevant to the resolution. It would be more appropriate in a debate about, say, the merits of universal healthcare vs. the US system.

Conclusion
Maximizing the welfare of adolescents requires respecting their privacy in medical affairs. They already exercise autonomy, and legal recognition allows them to do so in a safer way. Con has argued that leaving medical decisions up to parents will result in a better average outcome, with little evidence other than that parents generally make better decisions. Instead, you should favor my arguments and evidence that medical privacy protects adolescents.
Published:
Introduction
I will be referencing this:
The one to decide in a medical decision (A) must properly use reason and (B) take the child’s opinions and personal choices into consideration.

Governments Lay out Rules regarding Society’s Collective Reasoning.
Doctors Lay out options for their Patients.
Children Hold Opinions and Personal Choices.
Parents (Commonly) act as the Mediator to Reason for and Analyze and Interpret the Opinions and Personal Choices of the Child.

The Decisions Made by Adolescents
Poor Decision-Making Skills
The Poor Decision-Making Skills of Adolescents is underestimated by my opponent, who claims that parents “generally” make better decisions than their children. On top of the noticeable Peer Pressure, their brains are still immature and natural, primitive hormones impede on their decisions.
Poor Decision-Making Environment
Not only is the adolescent bad at decision-making, but they are in high school and are surrounded by their peers who share their same decision-making skills. This can easily lead to a downward spiral. It cannot be doubted that social groups affect their decisions and might regret their decisions.
Inability to Decide
The adolescent ought not to decide something they can not provide the essentials for or act knowledgeable upon the decision. If you can’t pay for something, the costs will exceed the ability to produce it. Children cannot pay and would need a loan, and money is to be dealt with the parents. It is not right to make your parent pay without their consent, and the same goes for the doctor.

The Roles of Parents
Medical Decisions
—Importance—
Does both A and B.

Also understands the household and if it is fit for the decision.

Even if the child is affected by peer pressure, parents aren’t.
The Household
—Physically and Socially—
Parents may be less inclined to provide for their child.

Any child that rebels and can use the government to do what they want without the parent in charge is in for the biggest spankings.

This is government-assisted rebellion.
—Mental Development—
Parents cannot teach, raise, protect their child. You are damaging their relationship, and the child will grow to be less mature.
Plausibility of Privacy
—Likelihood to Fail—
You live together.

Parents have infinite Search Warrants.
—Impact on Household—
Can’t care for the child.

Doctors and The Government
Role in Decisions
—Doctors—
Doctors give options for their patients and have the ability to question the child.
—The Government—
The government makes laws overriding parental reasoning.
Common Medical Decisions
I am opposed to all 3 (abortion, vaccination, and gender-affirmation), but avoiding politics, they still do little to affect the debate.

While controversial topics are more likely to foster disagreement between a parent and a child, they are only a small minority of all medical decisions, and the carry-through can be ever more splitting and can be handled by either doctors or the government.

Conclusive Analysis
The entirety of evidence doth point to the fact that Parents and Doctors ought to have the final say in Adolescent Medical Decisions.

The one to decide in a medical decision must have A and B.

Adolescents are not yet developed and therefore can be less trusted with A than their alternatives, and therefore ought not to have autonomy (especially when considering the practical costs of Adolescent Independence impeding on the household roles of the parent).

This responsibility must be handed to the Parent; who can perform A better than their child and B just as well as their child.

However, when one has specific knowledge that a parent cannot be trusted with A, or that they do not abide by B, then ought not the Parents or Adolescent to be trusted, but the Government or Doctors.

If it is Societal knowledge that a Parent cannot be trusted with A, laws should be made and the responsibility ought to be handed to the government.

And if the Parent fails to abide by B, or there needs to be a replacement for them nevertheless, the job ought to be handed to the doctor, who is a person with the ability to talk with the patient.

Also, for Practical Household Reasons, the job still ought to be the parent’s except in relatively extreme scenarios.

The idea of Adolescent Privacy is a Myth, and Autonomy only supports household rebellion as much as other Independent Adolescent Decisions, doing more harm than Good.

So, when taking into account the entirety of the scenario, accounting for all medical decisions, the expectation that parents can make better choices than their adolescents, the household, and crutches one may rely on such as the Government and Doctors, it is well-seen that Parents are a proper link necessary between adolescents and their medical decisions. The key is that they are (1) still living with their parents and (2) less developed than their parents, essentially all that’s needed.

P.S. This debate has Low Time and a Low numbers of Characters, and most importantly I have little time to focus. Sorry if this sounds repetitive.
Round 3
Published:
My points about the impacts of obstructing autonomy/privacy, and about how obstruction leads to teens going outside the system to their detriment, hold. These may not be a large percentage of cases, but they are a fair number in absolute terms, they are high-impact (teen pregnancy, DIY medicine, death by/spreading of preventable disease), and Con has said little of the impacts of adolescent autonomy on other cases.

Should doctors/government make the decisions?
The paternalism of these two counter-plans only abstracts the issues without solving them. The government is often just as politicized as parents, often even more so. Con has given us no reason to believe that the government is more reasonable than parents or even the adolescent, and we have many reasons to believe it is less reasonable (see: the Trump administration's many attempts to deny trans people even basic healthcare, like this one). 

Doctors, on the other hand, are well-informed, significantly more than the general population. Should they make the decisions for adolescents? The problem is that the decisions adolescents disagree with their parents about also split doctors. The vaccine debate would hit the dustbin of history, certainly, but what about abortion, which as many as 1/3 of OB-GYNs have a moral opposition to? Or trans care, where stories like this are all too common with both doctors and psychologists?

The issue with both approaches, like that of parental autonomy, is the self-righteous parading at people's expense in hard cases. By hard cases, I mean those where personal/societal moral views conflict with that of the individual seeking treatment. 

Say you're in the hospital with a badly infected leg. The doctor knows and informs you that you have a 10% chance of death if your leg is not amputated, and 0% chance if you amputate. The doctor then says that they have decided for you; your leg will be amputated. What about a 5% chance of death with the same choice made for you? 40%? 70%? Is the "enlightened" decision of the doctor really serving your well-being? It's obvious that any raw utilitarian calculus collapses here, because people value their legs differently. 

People value their bodily appearance and sense of gender differently. People value the time and money taken from them by pregnancy. People value health-related things differently. The only responsible choice is to let them decide for themselves, including adolescents. Anything less is imposing a "well-being" that they do not want and did not ask for. Decisions about the body and personal welfare are the most intimate decisions one makes, and they are up to that person alone. Thus, trans adolescents taking the extreme risk of DIY therapy. Thus, pregnant teens risking expulsion from their families to have abortions.

Anti-trans sources
Con provides two far-right sources that argue that trans people are peer pressured into it and that we tend to revert back to being cis.

The Defiant America source is about this study. Its methodology is dogsh*t. The sample is parents on anti-trans websites who believe their children have rapid-onset (peer-pressured) dysphoria. This sample can tell us nothing about the actual prevalence, and is highly biased.

The Breitbart source (really???) misses a crucial distinction. Children tend to desist from dysphoria, but adolescents don't.

Both are awful sources and I feel no need to elaborate further on their issues.

Misc. Rebuttals
Con's link about relationships and maturity is about the parents' relationship to each other and doesn't support his case.

Adolescent Privacy is a Myth
Con's own source paints a muddier picture. <50% of parents have ever looked through their teen's phone calls/messages. 39% have ever used filtering software/monitoring. Parents have far less control than Con asserts. School and classmates, friends' houses, private thoughts, incognito tabs and cheap smartphones. I kept my atheism secret for years, and have family that are currently adolescents and doing the same. Private doctor's visits aren't insane; we already do this with teen abortions. 

Autonomy only supports household rebellion
In the sense that it makes adolescents safer and more secure in making medical decisions... sure, though rebellion is a loaded term. Would Con prefer children be puppets for their parents? Seems awfully "last men"...

The key is that they are (1) still living with their parents and (2) less developed than their parents, essentially all that’s needed.
See last round about peer pressure and the irrelevance of money for the debate. 

Again, giving adolescents medical autonomy is the least bad option. Lack of autonomy forces teens to go through with pregnancies, forces trans people to endure worsening dysphoria and sketchy medicine, and risks exposing adolescents to deadly but preventable illnesses due to nothing but the religious convictions of the parents. Con has not quantified impacts.





Published:
My Logic
1. The one to decide in a medical decision ought to (A) must properly use reason and (B) take the child’s opinions and personal choices into consideration.
A is equivalent to being wrong about a controversial issue, one that society believes would be best if a side was chosen (against the favor of the parent).

We know that B exists. It is not just logic. As you pointed out, Doctors present you with a choice, because not everyone has the same opinions. Adolescents have opinions, but they may not use reasoning to manifest them into their decision properly; one must have A.
2. Parents can be assumed to follow B and to be better at A than Adolescents unless Proven Otherwise.
Already explained.
3. If a parent is proven not to follow A (by contradiction with what following A would look like), then we ought to rule to replace the parent with the one who follows A. But if a parent is not proven not to follow A so, then it is reasonable and more practical to assume that the Parent better follows A.
If you know a parent does not have a correct, reasoned, belief on an issue, they may be replaced for the moment. This is only if you know it. If you do not know it, then you can assume the parent is more right than the child. But if you do know it, that the parent does not follow A (perhaps they’re an Anti-vaxxer), then society itself ought to prevent it using their government just as much as the merits of universal healthcare vs. the US system might.
4. If B is proven otherwise, Doctors may analyze The Adolescent’s opinions in place of the parents.
Unlike you thought, this does not mean they will tell you what you have to do. They will ask you what you want, aspire for, and like/have opinions on, and then use reason to decide what is best for you. Not dictate what you do as if you were anyone else.

Also note that a doctor who does not use A on a subject will not be chosen to replace a parent who does not use A on the subject. A different doctor will be chosen.

My points about the impacts of obstructing autonomy/privacy, and about how obstruction leads to teens going outside the system to their detriment, hold.
These impacts should not happen, as a teen will get the care they need from the doctor if the parent is not using A.

and, from earlier,
Privacy allows us to get the care we need from doctors without being punished.
We must give adolescents privacy for these personal medical decisions, as a lack of privacy leads to abuse from some families for seeking care.
How paternalising to the parent is it, that the government deems them poor enough at doing their job that they do not get to show up for it, and are even expected to make the situation worse if they do? And that they will make a parent powerless to stop their child in defiance to their parent, so much that they try not to so much as inform the parent or give any hint?

A parent loves their child and wants the best for them.

If they truly expected the child to choose a worse option if they couldn’t receive a bad one, they would’ve let them do the bad one.

The fact that they don’t expect this leads me to believe that children, when presented with bad or worse options, are not as likely to choose a worse option when denied the bad one as the outcome of letting them accept the bad one would have you believe; the parent’s judgement is most likely sound, and, if known by society not to be, then taken over by the government.

The government is only fostering an environment where the child might lose the strength in their relationship with their parent, in turn harming their whole life (pointing to the fact that the child needs and ought to listen to their parent in nearly all scenarios), and assuming children truly are better without their parent’s care and aid.

Even if a doctor might be able to take a parent’s place, a parent still ought to know the child’s doings. A doctor can never fully replace a parent, and is only an option if the parent is simply known not to follow A or B. And I believe they’d know regardless; the mere fact that nearly any parent has looked through their child’s infinite database of personal knowledge and information (a.k.a. their phone) shows their power, and times like these greatly increase the chances of such happening.

The fact is, parents can only be expected to help, and it is wrong to expect a negative impact on the child from them and their basic duties they take care of every day.

The parents, as parents, can be expected to better help overall (doing the same parental duties they’ve done from the start) in comparison to adolescents going rogue even if the government and doctors do not serve their role and prevent known problems when they do appear.

Much of con’s beliefs likely stems from her own view on the controversies I have not debated.

Sorry my arguments have been over the place and seemingly unresponsive at times. I hope everything will wrap up agreeably in the last round; I will try not to bring in anything you have not yet had a chance to refute.

Round 4
Published:
My opponent's argument has shifted from R1, when he argued that "we must keep this [parental] relationship sacred until the child becomes truly independent", to more recently arguing that doctors or the government should decide, implicitly going against his own arguments for parental freedom. I urge voters to keep this game of Whack-a-Mole in mind. 

Doctors and Government
Con's logic is full of holes throughout. There's still no warrant for his criteria for decisions, and A and B are both meaningless because vague. The case collapses under epistemic problems because, as I pointed out last round (see my amputation example), there's no uniform value that every single patient assigns to their own health outcomes. And the morals of society writ large are a poor proxy as well, since many people and doctors disagree about the morality of, say, abortion or gender affirming care.

If you know a parent does not have a correct, reasoned, belief on an issue, they may be replaced for the moment. This is only if you know it. If you do not know it, then you can assume the parent is more right than the child.
Why? Again, Con's shown nothing more than that older adults tend to make decisions that are more deliberate by some factor. But the parents, again, don't know how the adolescent values their own body or medical potentialities. Only the adolescent can make that call.

Unlike you thought, this does not mean they will tell you what you have to do. They will ask you what you want, aspire for, and like/have opinions on, and then use reason to decide what is best for you. Not dictate what you do as if you were anyone else.
Providing advice is no strike against autonomy. The only way this negates autonomy is if doctors do explicitly what Con says they won't: "tell you what you have to do". I fully embrace the prospect of doctors as advisers.

Also note that a doctor who does not use A on a subject will not be chosen to replace a parent who does not use A on the subject. A different doctor will be chosen.
Epistemic problem again.

How paternalising to the parent is it, that the government deems them poor enough at doing their job that they do not get to show up for it, and are even expected to make the situation worse if they do?
Con's own plan does exactly what he speaks against (eg to anti-vaxxers). He can't have it both ways.

If they truly expected the child to choose a worse option if they couldn’t receive a bad one, they would’ve let them do the bad one.
If only that's how it always went... See the huge homeless population of LGBTQ+ youth, for instance. Kids get kicked out of the house for abortions and transitions. It's reality.

That source is about parents' relationships with each other and bears no relevance to the point Con tries to make.


Conclusion
The fact is, parents can only be expected to help
Con's view of the parent-child relationship is cheerful and naive. Yes, most parents love their children. But as I've shown throughout this debate, sometimes their love manifests itself in ways that deeply wound their children. The powerlessness of children in the medical system forces them to make decisions like ordering dangerous drugs from overseas.

As I said in R1, parents have many rights when it comes to the care of their children. They do not have the right to play God. This doesn't mean that decisions should be made by an impersonal State or physicians who aren't a part of kids' daily lives. It means that, faced with complex medical issues, the adolescent must be given their say. They are not personal property, they are people with their own needs. Adolescents make some bad decisions about their health care. Parents do the same. But adolescents have far more at stake than parents here. Parents may endure emotional distress, but adolescents have their livelihoods on the line. Their welfare outweighs any other concern when it comes to their treatment. Their welfare requires privacy, and thus autonomy, to deal with these difficult issues.

Tl;dr
1. Only the adolescent knows how they value various medical outcomes.
2. If the parent attempts to impose decisions contrary to those values, adolescents will be forced into outcomes they do not want. 
3. When the schism between parent and child is large enough, this drives adolescents to make dangerous decisions or drives the parents to harm them (eg kicking out of the house, see R1).
4. Medical privacy is essential to adolescent welfare.
4a. Privacy implies autonomy.
5. Adolescents already make medical choices all the time whether we legally recognize it or not.
6. Adolescents therefore should make the choices themselves in private consultation with doctors, which minimizes the decision-making deficits of the child.

Adolescent healthcare ought to be in the name of adolescent welfare, not parental power trips or bureaucratic paternalism. My stance is the only way to ensure that holds true.
Thank you to my opponent for this debate.
Published:
The current quo does allow doctors to potentially circumvent a seriously bad parental decision.

Her proposition is that adolescents can make the decision, which may include when they don’t use reason. But I am simply arguing that adolescents should not make the decisions when adults know they are not reasoning (such as their parents). Even though they were faced with a decision that involves them and life opinions, they may not have used reason to properly put their opinions into the best decision for them. I have explained that parents can be trusted unless known otherwise and that it is only practical.

Con's proposition could be pretty disastrous, allowing children so much.

I do believe there may be controversial matters where it all simply boils down to the child’s opinion. Society might be split on something, potentially gender-affirmation, and the parent is on the other side of the child, known to be potentially not using reason. The government ought to take out the parent and replace with a doctor that reflects society, unbiased, not taking a side on the matter personally. Now, it all boils down to the adolescent’s own decision, of course. But this is through a process, not through some intrinsic “right.” And most of the time parents still ought to have a say, perhaps in prevention, accounting for the fact they’re living with them.

We should not give adolescents such power at such an age.

Con believes certain issues are restricting children’s medical help, such as gender-affirmation, which leads her to wish for no restrictions on children’s help in all issues. Con likely does not see any issues that may be impeding on a child’s health. But what if an issue is intervening on the child’s health? What if temptation, stress, or the media and indoctrination intervened on the child, causing problems medically, instead? What if Con held the other stance on gender-affirming care? She would wish for restrictions to be back in place, so the issues would not intervene onto her child and she could decide what is best for her child. Not in a sense of dictatorship, but assuming that there are times where parental relationships with their children must be maintained and a majority of people who believe that some force, such as the media, intervenes on the child’s health and decision-making.

But we are not debating specific issues, and there is no reason that more issues might restrict than impede. In fact, any issue that impedes implies there should be a process before giving the child autonomy on a subject.

And from an unbiased perspective, such as from the voters, a reality where intervention on the child’s health is more common should be thought of as just as likely as one where restrictions to the child’s health is more common. And the fact that she said they have the “right” too, and that some situations do exist, should be enough.

My opponent’s round 4 argument terribly misinterprets things I stated throughout the debate.

Please realize that, whether she realized it or not, I have not in fact played any sort of “Whack-a-Mole” within our debate.
Here is something I have stated during R1:
A parent might make a decision over a deeply-held political belief, as you were referencing, something that is controversial. But keeping politics aside, as well as parental rights over their child, this would not imply to give children the right to decide, but the government.
I have in fact stated that the government may have the right to decide in R1, even if I did not build upon that and further explain it in R1, making my full argument of that point and why that should be entirely clear, but I have in fact stated it though.
Here is something I have stated in R2:
Also, for Practical Household Reasons, the job still ought to be the parent's except in relatively extreme scenarios.
Notice that each of these disproves what she has said; I have been coherent throughout the debate.

Both keeping the parental relationship sacred as well as preventing parents from making decisions society knows to be wrong should be considered.
 
I keep running into the character limit, and I greatly surpassed it this round. I had literally responded (with a response I’d have to translate into readable English) to every part of R4, but I left most of that out. It’s R4 anyway, shouldn’t be rebuting much.
 
If only that's how it always went... See the huge homeless population of LGBTQ+ youth, for instance. Kids get kicked out of the house for abortions and transitions. It's reality.
This doesn’t have anything to do with the “worse option” at hand, and rather proves my point about the importance of a relationship.
 
I had to delete a lot of stuff that was good though too 8 minutes from publishing my argument.
 
So voters, place a good, unbiased vote. I felt a bit messy, so let’s see who wins. Don’t take anything she claims I’ve said or that she hasn’t been refuted on for granted, she must not have noticed all of my argument and reasoning, let’s see if you do.

Added:
--> @DynamicSquid
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>Reported Vote: DynamicSquid // Mod action: [Removed]
>Points Awarded: Tie
>Reason for Decision:"
I usually look in a unique format to differentiate two people in a debate. For example starting with an INTRODUCTION, then your ARGUMENTS, and a CONCLUSION. But you guys seemed to change your format between rounds. This made it really confusing to follow through.
Both of you guys however provided links, so that was nice.
I also noticed how you guys clash with the opponents general statements, instead of line by line. It can be hard to clash line by line with a 5000 character limit though, but I would still recommend doing so.
For the arguments, I felt like both sides kinda did the same job.
In the end, I felt like this debate was really messy, and I couldn't decide a clear winner. I however agree with Zaradi's vote, but I don't consider that a significant win.
TIE from me."
Reason for Mod Action: To cast a tie vote, the voter must "clearly explain why, based on what transpired in the debate, they chose not to award points." See here for more information: https://www.debateart.com/forum/topics/1718. The voter did not fulfill the basic requirements of the voting policy either by failing to evaluate the arguments present in the debate. Ergo, the vote must be removed.
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#35
Added:
--> @Zaradi
>Reported Vote: Zaradi // Mod action: [Not Removed]
>Points Awarded: 1 point awarded to Pro
>Reason for Decision: "Really messy debate overall. A lot the debate centered around things and issues that were never really impacted out and neither side was doing a whole lot in the way of explaining why the arguments they were making mattered in terms of my vote. This was particularly bad around the topic of adolescents just having a right to make a decision - at the end of the debate, I'm still not sure why it matters if they have a decision or not, nor how I weigh it against other arguments being presented.
At the end, the only cohesive argument being advanced that had any kind of impact tied to it at the end of the day was Pro's argument for kids going out on their own for less safe DIY procedures that were super bad for their health and is prevented in the pro world. I hate how underdeveloped the argument is, but I cant find any response to it from con other than it's a minority of cases, which doesn't really do anything outside of potentially minimize the impact off of it? But that doesn't really change the fact it's the only real impact I have to vote off of. A lot of room for improvement from both sides."
>Reason for Mod Action: I made a mistake by removing it. I missed the arguments that were surveyed by the voter. The vote does meet the requirements under the CoC and Voting Guidelines. Apologies for the mistake.
#34
Added:
--> @Zaradi
*******************************************************************
>Reported Vote: Zaradi // Mod action: [Removed]
>Points Awarded: 1 point awarded to Pro
>Reason for Decision: "Really messy debate overall. A lot the debate centered around things and issues that were never really impacted out and neither side was doing a whole lot in the way of explaining why the arguments they were making mattered in terms of my vote. This was particularly bad around the topic of adolescents just having a right to make a decision - at the end of the debate, I'm still not sure why it matters if they have a decision or not, nor how I weigh it against other arguments being presented.
At the end, the only cohesive argument being advanced that had any kind of impact tied to it at the end of the day was Pro's argument for kids going out on their own for less safe DIY procedures that were super bad for their health and is prevented in the pro world. I hate how underdeveloped the argument is, but I cant find any response to it from con other than it's a minority of cases, which doesn't really do anything outside of potentially minimize the impact off of it? But that doesn't really change the fact it's the only real impact I have to vote off of. A lot of room for improvement from both sides."
>Reason for Mod Action: Per the Voting Guidelines, the voter must survey the chief arguments in the round, synthesize and weigh those arguments and counter-arguments, and come to a conclusion based off the preceding steps. While I would hate to take away a vote from a new user, particularly one that came from DDO, I must do so here. While one or two arguments were addressed and some weighing occurred, the bulk of the arguments were never mentioned. In particular, there was no mention of counterarguments whatsoever. I hate to do this, but rules are rules.
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#33
Added:
Yeah I knew I was going to lose; I was certainly messiest and just didn't do a good job. I'm going to do this debate again when I have more time in a few months with whoever and I'll do better and make clearer and by far better arguments (though generally the same thing I tried to argue this debate in a way but the right way)..
Contender
#32
Added:
Yeah I knew I was going to lose; I was certainly messiest and just didn't do a good job. I'm going to do this debate again when I have more time in a few months with whoever and I'll do better and make clearer and by far better arguments (though generally the same thing I tried to argue this debate in a way but the right way)..
Contender
#31
Added:
Let me know if you guys have any questions about my RFD or the debate overall.
#30
Added:
--> @Zaradi
Thank you!
Contender
#29
Added:
I'll try to get to this tomorrow.
#28
Added:
P.S. The first sentence was just an FYI relatively relevant to something I cut out.
Contender
#27
Added:
Btw I was like 1 min. 20 seconds away from the deadline again.
Contender
#26
Added:
P.S. I may have been a bit extra repetitive, but I still felt like that character limit was way too restrictive for my taste. Sometimes I get a bit wordy. And I might've could've edited it better, but I've had to delete a bit this round.
Contender
#25
Added:
they cant have sex they cant smoke or drink why shoul thay be allowed to cut there dicks and tits off?
#24
Added:
life and eath maybe all that gender dysoforia crap? kids can make a decision about having sex they cant make a decision about cuting their balls off
#23
Added:
Wanted to make it more rebuttal-ish feel as if I was going to say something else wonder if checking that spot I wrote all those notes will shed light on if was going to say more or not felt like I couldn't make this more rebuttal-ish because low time and low personal time anyway would've waited until felt like had time which is never and also low char. limit etc. idk ...
Contender
#22
Added:
I guess my argument's fine and good enough and all IDK if could make it better and I probably feel like it's worse than it is spent a lot of time brainstorming little time reading what I brainstormed Idk if I could really make it that much better but I still just don't like how my life's going right now effin' thing Just wanted say that. IDK.
Contender
#21
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Winner 1 point
Reason:
Was told to re-cast my vote as-is by blamonkey.
Really messy debate overall. A lot the debate centered around things and issues that were never really impacted out and neither side was doing a whole lot in the way of explaining why the arguments they were making mattered in terms of my vote. This was particularly bad around the topic of adolescents just having a right to make a decision - at the end of the debate, I'm still not sure why it matters if they have a decision or not, nor how I weigh it against other arguments being presented.
At the end, the only cohesive argument being advanced that had any kind of impact tied to it at the end of the day was Pro's argument for kids going out on their own for less safe DIY procedures that were super bad for their health and is prevented in the pro world. I hate how underdeveloped the argument is, but I cant find any response to it from con other than it's a minority of cases, which doesn't really do anything outside of potentially minimize the impact off of it? But that doesn't really change the fact it's the only real impact I have to vote off of. A lot of room for improvement from both sides.