Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thoughts on a Parental Government

Stories such as the Hauser family's ordeal offend me in a number of respects.

The first time I heard about Daniel's flight to escape compulsory treatment I was struck by the evident venom in the reporter's voice as she related that the family, although white, believed in the alternative treatment methods of a Native American band. Then it occurred to me that I was hearing of a family being compelled to submit their child to treatment against their will which offended me on a whole other level.

I'm pretty okay with government - including the judiciary branch - constraining my behavior, but I'm of the opinion that compelling behavior is supposed to be the exception. We are compelled to pay taxes and to report for jury duty. Unfortunately we are no longer compelled to make ourselves available for a period of national service. Other examples of compulsory behavior under the law don't quickly come to mind.

I get that Daniel Hauser has Hodgkin's Lymphoma which usually (90%) responds well to chemotherapy and that there is no scientific data to support whatever alternative therapy the family comtemplated. I don't get that society - the government - had any business interfering with the Hausers, particularly with Daniel and Colleen since Anthony Hauser didn't seem up for the challenge.

Unless I learn that no Minnesota child with Hodgkin's Lymphoma is ever left to his or her fate without appropriate chemotherapy, I'm inclined to think that this comes down to an arbitrary abuse of power depriving Mrs. Hauser of her parental rights and responsibilities - probably because they have pretty good insurance - and of her right to give or refuse her informed consent to her son's treatment. (I know she 'consented' in court today but if you think that wasn't under any duress then I've got some 'confessions' from Gitmo for you to read.) There was no compelling interest in this case unless every case of Hodgkin's Lymphoma in Minnesota is handled the same way.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Rain said...

It's a tough one because the chemo is very effective with that type of cancer; but they don't know the long term results of taking the poison that does kill the cancer. I tend to agree with you though and don't like parental rights being taken. This has been going on for a long time and involves questions like diabetes or blood transfusions. Like I said, tough call.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My elder brother holds an interesting view, about which I'm unsure of my own belief. He believes that parents should have absolute power over their offspring - up to and including the right to end their lives - to the age of 18.

Some of the consequences that come to mind are: the fights between parents who do not agree about their offspring, glutting of courts with minors trying to "divorce" their parents in order to establish their own autonomy, abolishment of the argument over abortion rights, and reduction of world over-population.
Cop Car
P.S. There's no chance that this will ever come about (is there?) so this is a mental exercise.

10:23 AM  

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