How old do you have to be to make your own life changing decisions?
When it comes to drinking, smoking, tattoos, marriage, contracts, etc. the age at which you can legally partake of those activities varies by state and federal law. If these laws are based on nothing more than local preference, the ability to rely on those laws to protect your rights or limit your liabilities is reduced. What are your rights to access these activities if you are an emancipated teen? When schools meddle in such laws things can get really scary and the courts are not even able to make coherent judgements. Two cases, one in Minnesota and one in Missouri, shed light on the problem with age restrictions, parental rights and school’s attempts to follow or manipulate the law.
At what age can you choose your sex?
In Judaism you had better start taking your child’s questions seriously at thirteen because history has shown that that is when they have enough mental capacity to take on the more serious topics of life. Piaget said that children had the ability to think abstractly around age fifteen, so bring on the algebra, driving, and maybe even marriage. Piaget may have been right that the beginnings of the ability to think abstractly are there at 15, but actuarial tables and FMRI’s show that fully functioning prefrontal cortices, where our planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and impulse control occurs are not fully formed until age 25. That is why auto insurance remains more expensive for drivers under the age of 25 and those under 20 will have a very hard time renting a car. So if that part of your brain isn’t fully formed until well past high school, are high school aged children capable of making complex medical decisions, especially ones based on personality expression, such as gender reassignment?
A Minnesota federal court has thrown out the case of a parent who sued the St. Louis County MN, the St. Louis County School District, and the county’s Health and Human Services, over their denial of her parental rights to prevent them from administering sex hormone therapy to her transgender son. At the center of the case was whether or not the 15 year old son could be considered emancipated by simple decree or finding of the school district, without any judicial process where the wishes of the biological parents or an officer of the court could be considered[…]
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