Those darn misleading headlines! I’m aware and wary but this one got me!
Connecticut Teen Who Refused Chemo Now in ‘Remission,’ Seeks Freedom blares the headline. There have been a number of stories in the news in the last few months about young people who did not want to get chemotherapy. In several cases the parents of the teen essentially ran off to avoid the state forcing medical care their child.
This was not one of those cases. In this case the state took Cassandra C. (full name not released to protect the minor) from her home, strapped her to a hospital bed, and forced chemotherapy on her. It worked and she’s now in remissions. She says she’s committed to finishing her treatment and wants to go home.
The headline was clearly designed to draw in people who thought the girl refused chemotherapy and is now in remission. The reality is that if she had been allowed to refuse such care she would likely be dying or already dead. The statistics on chemotherapy are overwhelming. I’ve had discussions with people on this subject and I’m not going to get into a debate today. Look up the one year, five year, and ongoing cancer survival rates for those who take chemotherapy and those who don’t. You can choose to disbelieve the numbers, that’s your call, me, I’ll go with the statistics.
Back to the story; it’s interesting for a number of reasons. Does the state have the right to force medical treatment on a minor who refuses such? Minors don’t have the same constitutional rights as adults so it’s not a simple question for a Libertarian like myself. A parent unquestionably has the right to force an underage child to take medical treatment against their will. This goes without saying. Does the state?
If a child has a 90% chance to die without taking the treatment and a 99% chance to live with the treatment is the state obligated to step forward?
I discussed this issue more fully in a post about child endangerment but I’ll recap quickly. If parents imprison and abuse their children can the state step in? If you agree with that then it’s hard not to agree with stepping in for medical treatment. The child will likely die unnecessarily without said treatment. Child abuse is not usually fatal although the long term outlook is certainly awful.
I’m not going to cover all my points again today, please read that post if you’d like know my opinions.
This story is really just about another misleading headline that lured me in!
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