An ethical dilemma or is it?
Like many of you watching the news today, it has been dominated by the on going debate of Jessica Watson's decision to sail around the world at 16. In fact over the last several days this issue has been debated at many levels.
Why are we making such a big issue of a 16 year old girl making a solo trip around the world? is it that we are a paternalistic society? do people think she is to young to make this decision or trip? why is it such a big deal?
Jessica is an accomplished sailor, she has been sailing from knee high to a grasshopper. (I do hope that she has been prepared correctly for this trip, which has not been reported). Her parents are supporting her to realise a dream....so why is the world not saying, "great Jessica" and wishing her all the best. Instead many people have been pleading with her and her family to call off the trip. I wonder why?
Here is someone who is willing to undertake this task realise her dream, who is well aware of the consequences of her actions. Why is it such a big debate?
When we consider the law in terms of consent to medical treatment for minors,(clarifying that a minor is under the age of 18) the minor has to be able to understand the consequences of their actions. This means that the child understands the illness, procedure, outcomes, pros and cons and consequences of the action. This in English Law is considered "Gillick Competent", therefore the child does not need parental consent. There is a proviso within Gillick Competence and that is, a child can not refuse life saving treatment.
If this is the case for medical treatment, do we not consider that Jamie is Gillick Competent, therefore capable of making her own decisions and living or dying with the consequences. The question I think you have to ask, is it in Jamies best interest to do a solo sailing trip around the world?
I hope that Jamie realies her dream and becomes the youngest woman to sail around the world.
Why is there all this debate?