Autonomy of the Child in the South African ContextChad Beyer*
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
- Corresponding Author:
- Chad Beyer (CB)
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg Campus, Cape Town, South Africa
Received Date: April 04, 2014; Accepted Date: June 18, 2014; Published Date: June 20, 2014
Citation: Beyer C (2014) Autonomy of the Child in the South African Context. J Community Med Health Educ 4:292. doi: 10.4172/2161-0711.1000292
Copyright: © 2014 Beyer C. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Access to healthcare for all members of society is a right enshrined in the South African Constitution. Worldwide policy makers are beginning to lower the age of consent to medical treatment in response to the changes within society as well as to fulfil international obligations. The age of full legal capacity in South Africa is 18, when section 129 of the Children’s Act of 2005 came into effect it empowered children over the age of 12 with the capacity to consent to medical treatment, if they are deemed to possess “sufficient maturity”. This article examines the legal and philosophical approaches to the consent of children, with a focus on the South African context. Furthermore, it looks at the development of the adolescent brain to see if functional neuroimaging has presented us with an answer to the question of adolescent’s functional capacity for consent.