The Nanny State vs. The Family Part IIby Doug Mataconis
Last week, I wrote about Abraham Cherrix, a 16 year-old boy in Accomack County, Virginia in the middle of a custody battle between his parents and the Accomack County Social Services Department. The issue at hand, of course, was Abraham’s cancer treatments. Abraham and his parents made the choice to discontinue his chemotherapy and try alternative medicine. The state, however, claimed that it knew better and convinced a judge to issue an order effectively giving Accomack County joint legal custody of Abraham.
Just yesterday, I related how the Judge handling Abraham’s case was leaving him in a state of legal limbo and forcing him to undergo medical tests before allowing him to leave for Mexico for treatment.
Now, it appears that trip won’t be happening for some time, if ever. Judge Jesse Demps issued an Order late today that Abraham must undergo chemotherapy against his will.
NORFOLK, Va. — A judge ruled Friday that a 16-year-old boy fighting to use alternative treatment for his cancer must report to a hospital by Tuesday and accept treatment that doctors deem necessary, the family’s attorney said.
The judge also found Starchild Abraham Cherrix’s parents were neglectful for allowing him to pursue alternative treatment of a sugar-free, organic diet and herbal supplements supervised by a clinic in Mexico, lawyer John Stepanovich said.
Jay and Rose Cherrix of Chincoteague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore must continue to share custody of their son with the Accomack County Department of Social Services, as the judge had previously ordered, Stepanovich said.
Judge Demps sits on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, which means that his Order can be immediately appealed to the Circuit Court of Accomack County. One can only hope that the Circuit Court Judge has a better view of the proper relationship between the state, the individual and the family than Judge Demps did when he made his ruling.
The lawyer for Abraham’s parents had a warning for Virginia parents that could apply nationwide:
“I want to caution all parents of Virginia: Look out, because Social Services may be pounding on your door next when they disagree with the decision you’ve made about the health care of your child,”
Because, of course, that’s their job.