A list of what is illegal to do before age 18 in the USA:
- Vote in the General election (Twenty-sixth Amendment)
- Join the military (Minimum age for enlistment in the United States military is 17 with parental consent, or 18)
- Get a home mortgage (Too young to legally sign contracts.)
- Get a credit card (Too young to legally sign contracts.)
- Drop out of school (In most states, age 16 in some.)
- Buy cigarettes/ tobacco (Synar Amendment)
- Purchase alcohol (National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984)
- Adopt ("To ensure that the older adult is healthy enough to raise a child" - adoption.org/age-limit-adoption)
A list of what is legal to do before age 18 in the USA:
- Get married (Without parental consent in Mississippi at age 15, or any age with parental consent.)
- Have a baby (No link for this one, because there simply isn't a law with a minimum age.)
Is marriage important enough that it should only be entered into by people who are legally considered old enough to make the other decisions listed above? You can't pick a member of Congress, but you can select a spouse? To be clear, marriages are supposed to last longer than a Congress term.
- "The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so." - The University of Rochester Medical Center
- "allowed to make adult decisions, without fully mature brains" - mentalhealthdaily
- "Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop" - bigthink
- "What is the prefrontal cortex and what does it do?" - neuroscientificallychallenged
So we have people getting married and having babies, being responsible for raising someone, but they don't have the fully developed brain needed to make decisions. And we KNOW they shouldn't be making decisions that will impact their spouse or child, but it's okay because it's legal.
I want to live in a world where people stop fighting for children to have children. There is no shortage of adoptable children. If we run out, okay, then let's discuss how to deal with that. Saying it's illegal for a minor to NOT have a baby if one is forced upon them is foolish. Even if the person consented to making a baby, science has proven they didn't have the brain development necessary to make that choice. Maybe the prefrontal cortexes of those passing these laws needs to be checked.
What I'm saying is that, with very rare exception, no minor should be legally allowed to get married or have any part in the pregnancy process. Sterilizing drugs should be required (except for health reasons) for all minors. And yes, maybe the minimum age of adulthood needs to be raised, and college or some other life training could be required from age 18 to 25.