Sunday, July 23, 2006

Nanny state orders teen to make himself sick

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 1997, one thing I feared was that I would have to go through chemotherapy to kill the disease. As it turned out, the initial surgery removed all of the cancer and I did not need further treatment beyond five years of surveillance. Given the effect that chemotherapy had on my cousin (who died of leukemia in 1995) and my father-in-law, I am very thankful that I managed to avoid it.

Abraham Cherrix, a 16-year-old boy, has cancer of the lymph nodes. He had been through chemotherapy once, which made him nauseated and weak. Because of this experience, Cherrix did not wish to go through it again, so he pursued alternative treatments including "a sugar-free, organic diet and herbal supplements." A renegade "judge", however, ordered the teen to go into chemotherapy and actually went to the extreme of ruling that Cherrix's parents were "neglectful" and awarding partial custody to the government.

This so-called "judge" should be impeached. At the very least, this so-called "judge" should be forced to take the chemotherapy with Cherrix. The government has no business forcing this boy to go into chemotherapy given the side effects. If Cherrix was five years old, there might be an argument here, but he is 16 years old. While he is still a minor, 16 is old enough for the boy to have some say in his health care decisions. A 16-year-old girl can make choose to have her unborn baby ripped limb from limb in an abortion clinic, but a 16-year-old boy cannot make a decision regarding his health care? What king of backward world is this?

In two years, the renegade "judge" will have no power anyway. Once Cherrix is a legal adult, he can tell the so-called "judge" exactly where to stick his ruling and his decision to meddle in Cherrix's health care. I am sure the boy is eagerly looking forward to that day. In the meantime, the important thing to remember here is that a "judge" has ordered a 16-year-old boy to significantly reduce his quality of life and taken away his rights over his own body and his parents' right to seek the treatment they believe would most benefit their son. This is shameful.