Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 38 (3):315-331 (2013)

In Roper v. Simmons (2005) the United States Supreme Court announced a paradigm shift in jurisprudence. Drawing specifically on mounting scientific evidence that adolescents are qualitatively different from adults in their decision-making capacities, the Supreme Court recognized that adolescents are not adults in all but age. The Court concluded that the overwhelming weight of the psychological and neurophysiological data regarding brain maturation supports the conclusion that adolescents are qualitatively different types of agents than adult persons. The Supreme Court further solidified its position regarding adolescents as less than fully mature and responsible decisionmakers in Graham v. Florida (2010) and Miller v. Alabama (2012). In each case, the Court concluded that the scientific evidence does not support the conclusion that children under 18 years of age possess adult capacities for personal agency, rationality, and mature choice. This study explores the implications of the Supreme Court decisions in Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama for the “mature minor” standard for medical decision making. It argues that the Supreme Court’s holdings in Roper, Graham, and Miller require no less than a radical reassessment of how healthcare institutions, courts of law, and public policy are obliged to regard minors as medical decisionmakers. The “mature minor” standard for medical decision making must be abandoned
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/jht014
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Cognitive and Affective Development in Adolescence.Laurence Steinberg - 2005 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (2):69-74.
Parenting and the Best Interests of Minors.R. S. Downie & F. Randall - 1997 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 22 (3):219-231.

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