This started as a hijack of the thread “Explain why Polanski deserves forgiveness for being a rapist”. As I mentioned there, however, I don’t think the question of age is relevant to Polanski’s case at all, so here’s a new thread. I’ve reproduced my last post to start off.
How do you figure that?
Rather, some activities are appropriate for some people and others are not. Age is only a surrogate for whichever aspect of those people’s maturity you actually want to measure.
Imagine a carnival ride that’s unsafe for anyone shorter than 50 inches. You can be pretty sure that no 8 year olds will be tall enough to ride, and you can be pretty sure that most 18 year olds will be tall enough to ride. But you’d be a fool to set an age limit on the ride, since you can eliminate false negatives and positives by setting a height limit instead. Any government that respects personal liberties has a responsibility to keep false negatives to a minimum.
If they only know on a vague level, it sounds like their health teacher wasn’t doing his job. It just isn’t that hard to understand that sex can lead to pregnancy and disease. This is the kind of information you can get from a photocopied handout, not something that can only be learned through life experience.
I sure wouldn’t expect those particular girls to understand, since obviously everyone around them has failed to provide even the most basic sex education! But I wouldn’t judge all 13 year olds by their example.
What if a poor adult woman gets pregnant? Who will support the child?
Would it make sense to define having sex with poor people as “sexual molestation” and/or “statutory rape”?
Why would I expect anyone else to do so?
If your point is that it’s a bad choice for young teens to get pregnant, I agree entirely. If you’re saying it’s a bad choice for them to have sex at all because of the risk of pregnancy, that’s certainly a valid opinion too.
But I haven’t said they should be getting pregnant or even having sex. I’m saying that their consent is meaningful and should be respected by the law. They may consent to something that turns out to be a bad choice, but that doesn’t mean their consent is meaningless; if I sign up for a credit card at 30% interest, I’m making a terrible mistake, but no one will claim I didn’t really agree to it!