Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

January 10, 2007

Abraham’s Law: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

by Doug Mataconis

Abraham Cherrix, the Virginia teen who was at the center of a controversy over forced medical treatment last summer, is in Richmond lobbying the General Assembly to pass a law the would prevent another child from being put through his ordeal:

If the bill that carries his name can help people, then Starchild Abraham Cherrix feels he made a difference.

“Out of all the turmoil that my family has been through, and all that I’ve been through, then if this is what comes out of it, then I’ve achieved a great thing and I’ve achieved my goal,” the 16-year-old told reporters yesterday. “I hope in the future this law can help other people and help families not go through what I went through.”

The Chincoteague teen came to the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond with his lawyers, a family spokeswoman and Del. John J. Welch III, R-Virginia Beach, who filed what he’s calling “Abraham’s Law.”

The bill stems from the Cherrix family’s fight with local officials over Abraham’s treatment for Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system.

In its details, the bill would essentially guarantee that parents, not judges, would control their children’s medical treatment:

The bill would strengthen the rights of parents whose children face life-threatening illnesses as they decide treatment. It would specify that parents who refuse a particular medical treatment for their child under 18 would not face charges of neglect if:

  • the decision was made jointly by the parents and the child;
  • the child “is sufficiently mature to have an informed opinion” on the treatment;
  • the parents and child have considered alternative treatment options; and
  • the parents and child believe “in good faith that such decision is in the child’s best interest.”

Hopefully, Virginia legislators will for what’s right for once.

Cross-Posted at Below The Beltway

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  • Nick

    Well, that law is going to make some people mad. I forsee an opposing proposal saying that if the parents and child come to a conclusion different than the doctor, they must not be capable of making such decisions. We will all be forced to see doctors, possibly allowed multiple opinions. Say, for example, you must see three doctors, you must go with the majority opinion, and the dissenting doctor is investigated for malpractice for suggesting treatment not commonly accepted by the medical community.

    Nick

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