Sunday, October 16, 2016

What? There's a country that respects medical autonomy?

You probably think I should have become a doctor, not a librarian.

It's nice to have friends who enjoy sharing health issues and can find the positive in minor medical conditions. Trust me, some conditions truly are not that bad. It seems like the Really Serious People think your whole life is ruined if you're not treated for them, but I think I've held up great after going untreated for some of them for decades.

Unfortunately, American politics has been dotted with little tinpot dictators who deny medical autonomy for no defensible reason. For me, the matter is moot, because I'm 43. The problem I'm talking about is forcing reasonably mature minors to undergo unnecessary "treatment" they don't want - though any standard of medical ethics would give them the right to refuse. I don't mean life-saving medicines. I'm talking about stupid shit.

Some folks on a website have been talking about this, and one person in an unspecified foreign country said it would be illegal in their country to force a 16-year-old to undergo "treatment" they don't want. In fact, it might apply to kids who are even younger.

What? There's actually a country somewhere out there where kids aren't treated as property? I would have loved it if the United States was like that when I was 16. I've heard that some Americans who are a few years older than me didn't have as many struggles in their day, so I assume most American laws that gutted medical autonomy were enacted under Reagan. Plus, another website says that in Britain you only have to be 16 to refuse.

I was very mature when I was 16. I had schoolmates who weren't. I remember being 16 and worrying about how fucked-up America was gonna be when they were 30 and they had more power. But people like that weren't in the majority, and - true to form - they were just as irresponsible when they were 30. Should they have been denied the right to refuse medical treatment at 30? (If it was life-saving treatment, I wish they would have refused.)

I find that I appreciate it a lot more when I wasn't "treated" for stupid crap. I know you're supposed to stop thinking this the day you turn 18, but it's very clear. I have not changed my mind on this. I'm very appreciative of the times when I was allowed to do what I wanted - which wasn't often. Believe me, I don't regret it.

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