From Jim Gilliam's blog archivesChildren's Rights
March 26, 2002 10:59 AM
Bush made a few changes to Clinton's health privacy regulations.
Most of the changes are to remove bureaucracy and streamline paperwork. In general, good common sense changes.
One change, however, flips Clinton's privacy protection for minors.
Under Clinton, if minors have a right under state law to certain medical services (like mental health, drug abuse, and abortion), they also have the right to keep their use of those services a secret from their parents.
Bush removes this protection except in the rare situation where state law explicitly forbids parental disclosure.
When will our society finally come to grips with the fact that children are humans too, and should be granted the same rights under the law as everyone else?
Driver's licenses. You must be 16 to have the privelige of taking a test to determine whether you are skilled enough to drive a car. If you can pass the test, then why can't you be 12 and drive a car? If there's something lacking in the test that is supposedly addressed by putting an age requirement on driving, then change the test.
Voting. Anyone should be allowed to vote. Make a test that you have to pass which shows basic understanding of how the US political process works - not unlike what is required of people trying to gain citizenship.
Alcohol. By restricting alcohol consumption to those over 21, the government is pushing children in the direction of drugs, which are far more readily available to them. Why should a kid have easier access to crack and heroin than to alcohol? If a person is found to be abusing alcohol to the extent of infringing on someone else's rights (like driving under the influence), then their right to drink should be revoked, along with the regular consequences. No matter how old they are.
School attendance. Children are required to attend school until they are 16. Treat education like the privelige that it is, and children will view it as such. By imprisoning kids in schools for 10-12 years, we're teaching them to hate learning. To the extent that they aren't learning anything anyway. A kid's not going to pass a driving test without knowing how to read. That's motivation enough for the vast majority of children.
In return, parents should not be held responsible under law for the things their children do.
By restricting children's freedoms we're telling them they aren't as important as other people.
Children's Rights (03.26.2002)