Abraham’s Law: An Idea Whose Time Has Comeby 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