Monday, August 15, 2005

Child Safety Versus Parents' Rights

There are various religious groups that oppose medical treatment for serious illnesses, relying instead on prayer and faith to bring about healing. This practice normally goes unnoticed until it involves a seriously ill child being denied medical care due to their parents' religious beliefs. The latest example recently went to the Indiana Court of Appeals. (Chicago Sun-Times: Couple who rejected medical care owe $172,000).

In her opinion brief Judge Margaret G. Robb wrote, ''Parents, while free to make martyrs of themselves, are not free under identical circumstances to make martyrs of their children.'' The ruling reaffirmed that parents are obligated to provide for the health care of their children.

This issue is not one of religious freedom. It is an issue of parental responsibility. While I'm rarely in favor of government intervention into the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I have to draw the line when parental behavior or beliefs endangers the lives of their children. Judge Robb is correct. Parents do not have the right to withhold medical treatment from their children on the basis of their religious beliefs.

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1 comment :

Alan Fraser said...

Gasp! Agreement, how can this be!!