Boy, I am glad I don’t have to weigh in on the decisions in this case. In a nutshell: a conservative Ohio Amish family has decided to stop chemotherapy treatments for their 10-year-old daughter. The daughter will probably die within a year without chemo. If she continues with chemo, she will likely live. These are the facts as they are being reported, so that is all I have to go on. I’m a huge fan of holistic remedies like vitamins, healthy diet, etc. But the stark reality is that if a combination of that would beat back cancer, then cancer wouldn’t be so scary.
On the other hand, I hate the idea of the government usurping parental decisions and forcing medical care on anyone. I think it sets a bad precedent. Yet so does letting a child die unnecessarily, although the Amish faith would generally say that she has passed on to a better place and that is God’s will. And we do have religious freedom in this country. Compelling reasons to leave the family alone.
Yet, the Amish are Anabaptists…the whole premise that their faith is built upon is that children can’t choose their religion, they can’t make such an important decision at such a young age. So they embrace adult baptism (Anabaptism) as way for a person to have a say as to what faith they should follow. I know the girl hates the way the chemo treatment makes her feel, but there are a lot of things parents do for the good of their children. Many children dislike eating their vegetables, but the parents make them because there is a long term net gain. Should courts make children eat their Brussels sprouts?, I think we can all agree that that would be a ridiculous government overreach. But chemo to save a child from dying of cancer? I lean towards court-enforced chemo. But it’s a tough call and I think reasonable people can disagree. What are your thoughts? Read the latest here.