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Thread: Church & Court

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001

    Church & Court

    The Scenario:

    A mother and father have a eight year old daughter (Ashley). Ashley becomes very sick, in fact, deathly sick. This disease however, is easily curable by modern medicine.

    The Problem:

    The parents belong to a religion that does not believe in modern medicine

    The questions:

    Should the parents be allowed to force their beliefs upon the child, therefore not allowing Ashley to have the medical treatment science believes is necessary?

    If the parents do deny medical treatment, and Ashley dies, should they be criminally liable? Civily? Both?

    If Ashley asks for a doctor, do the parents have the right to deny the request?

    If someone (the cops perhaps) takes the Ashley to the doctor other than the parents, and the parents are present saying they do not want treatment, should the hospital be allowed to treat Ashley despite the parents objections if they think she is in serious threat of dying?

    TIA for all thoughts and comments.
    Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive (the dang thing blew up)

    \"Ask not what the kernel can do for you, ask what you can do for the kernel!\"

  2. #2
    oh good question Kezil
    personnaly I don't think the parents should press their beliefs upon the child but then who is there to stop them? I'm assuming however that because the health care is available then they live in a developed society where the child must attend school - therefore I think it falls to the teacher of the child to ensure that she recieves treatment if the parents are not looking after her the same way teachers must be vigilant to make sure a young child is not being abused/beaten they must also ensure that they are being properly looked after and IMHO this should include proper health care - wether or not it goes against the parents beliefs. If the child upon reaching a resonable age where she can make informed decisions for herself decides that she wants to take up her parents beliefs - then all well and good but at 8 she is not mentally equipped to make such a decision but this does not give her parents the rights to force their decision upon her and risking her health even life! Plus no matter how strong your beliefs what sort of parent could watch their child suffer and/or die knowing they could help them???


  3. #3
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Thumbs up

    Legally, a child is presumed to be unable to make
    such serious decisions for herself.
    That is why SOMEONE will have the legal
    authority to make this decision.

    Historically, all gov'ts have presumed that,
    if the parents do not have her best interest
    at heart who would?

    Therefore, unless parents are shown to act
    outrageously or in bad faith, it's best not to
    open a can of worms.

    Every time some nosey busybody wants to
    second-guess child rearing practices of
    parents, they could make someone else
    the "legal guardian" and anyone could
    challenge parents' guardianship on
    trivial grounds.

    If I were the judge, it would be a very
    tough call. Tough indeed.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BrainStop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Very good question ... without an easy answer.

    When culture or religion clashes with science, who is wrong and who is right. Denying medication/healthcare is one aspect of it. There is also the aspect of cultural/religious mutilation such as female circumsition.

    A basic principle is that children are not in a position to make a balanced and evaluated decision and thus we rely on parents. However, this can lead to bad situations.

    For example, there are villages that refuse to have their children vaccinated on religious grounds ... even if this poses an epidemic risk which will not be limited to members of that church.

    However, science can also go to the other extreme. If your child is terminally ill, do you want it to be a guinea pig for all new possible forms of treatment which may or may not offer any help, or do you want to be able to say "my child has suffered enough, let him/her die in peace"?

    I think that a child should not undergo the consequences of any religious dogma until he/she has the chance to make his/her own choice with regards to religion. This includes healthcare. However, you can't take away the responsibility of parents. They have a role in the education and welfare of their child.

    I don't think there is a clear answer. However, I don't think that parents should not, in general, refuse healthcare to their children for religious reasons, especially in cases where this can affect others.



  5. #5
    Hmmmm I think this is a good question and as there ain't much going on in this forum atm am going to move it up see if we can't get some more respones/opinions on the matter

    good ques Kezil


  6. #6
    Hmmmm donesn't look like anyone else has an opinion or at least one that they want to share come on AO lets hear from ya! hehe


  7. #7
    AntiOnline Senior Member souleman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Flint, MI
    Ok valhallen, if you are going to force me to write....

    I guess it is actually a really tough question when you really think about it. Ok, lets say that there is a heaven and hell. Now, lets also say that there is only 1 truly correct religion. All other religions have some false beliefs, and therefore, their members are going to hell. Now, hypothetically speaking, lets say that the parents practice the one true religion. Is it our place to sentance that child to an eterntiy in hell? Does the government have the write to say, we will keep you alive in this world, so you can burn forever once you die?

    I originally thought that the government should basically take the child, and deem the parents unfit to raise a child. But then I got to thinking, what if? So I am not really saying either way, I am just tossing out another view point. Besides, valhallen probably got sick of reading his own posts
    \"Ignorance is bliss....
    but only for your enemy\"
    -- souleman

  8. #8
    Priapistic Monk KorpDeath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I think that if your religion intrudes on intelligent thought the you've got bigger problems than sick kids.

    Parents must not endanger their children. I don't want to give parenting 101 here or anything but this is as crystal clear as you can get. Sick child gets medical attention, why that wouldn't jive with a religion is beyond me, but then again I've heard stranger things before.

    I'm so sick of people ssaying "it's God's will."
    Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
    - Samuel Johnson

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Well if it is God's will , He won't mind you taking the kid to the doctor. Why is it that ppl who say they believe it God, can't make the leap to believe He can and does work through doctors and modern medicine. So, go ahead, exercise your faith, then if child not better get them to the doctor pronto. End of point.


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