Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Court Oversteps in Teen's Chemotherapy Refusal

Just how far will the government go to ensure the health and well being of a New Ulm, Minnesota teen? In the case of thirteen year-old Daniel Hauser and his mother Colleen, all the way to California and back to Minnesota while involving not only the Minnesota courts but the FBI, federal customs, and other state law enforcement agencies.
This case involves teenager Daniel Hauser who is suffering from a form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is usually successfully treated by rounds of chemotherapy. After the first round of chemo, Daniel’s parents, Colleen and Anthony Hauser, refused additional chemo treatments based partially on religious objections and decided along with Daniel to seek alternative treatments for his cancer. Last week’s court order, which mandated Daniel return back to the hospital for traditional chemotherapy, prompted the teen and his mother to flee bound for Mexico in search of alternative cancer treatments. A federal arrest warrant was put out for Daniel’s mother. However, the Hausers returned home to Minnesota yesterday to a distorted future and Daniel in the care of the state of Minnesota. A court order still requires Daniel to resume chemotherapy which will give him a 90% chance of survival versus certain death within 5 years.
My problem with this whole case lies with the involvement of the court system. Daniel and his parents decided to refuse additional chemotherapy and try alternative therapies that are more in line with their religious views. Let’s put aside the religion element for a moment. I believe it is not right for the government to override the decision of the parents by labeling it “child endangerment.” 
Undoubtedly, the Hausers know that their son has a form of cancer that is curable via chemotherapy. They also are aware of the risks of deciding not to pursue additional chemotherapy treatments. Daniel also made up his own mind about refusing chemo.  Then add in that the treatments go against their religion.
Personally, I think that it is crazy to refuse chemotherapy treatment for a child diagnosed with cancer. Especially when the chemo will eventually treat the cancer and give the child a chance at a normal life. Do I think that it is up to the government to make this decision for me? Resoundingly NO!
If a Brown County Minnesota judge can force a child to undergo chemotherapy against his parent’s wishes and religious beliefs, who is to say that “big brother” won’t be interfering in your life or mine over an issue the government deems as reckless or endangerment?
 Let the Hauser’s decision be their own. They will ultimately have to live with the consequences.

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