Thursday, July 20, 2006

I was mulling over the case of Abraham Cherrix, and still see two sides of this particular coin.

The gist is that he wants to be allowed to pursue alternative forms of treatment for his Hodgkin’s disease. Since his parents are supportive of his decision, social services have charged Abraham’s parents with medical neglect and are suing for custody of Abraham so they can force him into treatment. This alone is enough to scare the wind out of any parent. It’s shocking that our children can be taken away from us for not ascribing to traditional methods. Have we come so far down the path of socialism that we face losing our children because we don’t agree with Big Brother?

At what point do we forfeit the right to parent our children? Where do the lines get drawn? I rail against anyone who tells me how I can treat my child. But then again, it is assumed that we fit into the accepted paradigms of “what good parents do.” But what happens when what we do something that falls outside of those widely accepted parameters? Is it then permissible for the government to step in “for the good of the child”? They presume to know more than we do. But what if they’re wrong? Or more frightening – what if the parents are wrong?

I am a huge proponent of telling the government to get their hands off my life and my checkbook. Additionally, I’m a big believer of integrating alternative methods of healing into our medical paradigm. There are fewer side effects, less pain, and the patient is able to take an active role in their healing. The fact that Abraham is 16 should give him a great amount of autonomy over making his own medical decisions.

But what happens when the child is younger? At 16, he’s still a minor. Would we stand back and allow parents to willfully withhold treatment if the child were seven? We’ve all seen articles splashed across the papers about parents whose religious beliefs prevent them from allowing medicine or blood transfusions. We’ve seen them hauled off to court and their children forced into treatment. Do I believe that it’s right in those instances? Tough question, but yes, I do. A young child is unable to be is own advocate, and the alternative to no treatment would be death. Could we as a society stand by and allow this to happen? Should we?

As big a supporter as I am of keeping government out and parents being allowed to parent their children, I do worry about where those lines should be drawn. Abraham is old enough to decide what he wants to do. But who is the advocate for the younger child? Where do we draw the lines? At what age do we tell the government to mind their own business? It’s a political and social hotbed, and I can’t imagine a more mature and eloquent activist for this issue than Abraham Cherrix.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Blogging is not for the faint of heart

I've discovered that blogging is a lot like trying to nail jello to the wall. It sounds easy to do until you actually try it.