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Amish family chemo: Right to refuse chemotherapy for young daughter case goes on

Caduceus medical symbol in Ohio
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

An Amish family against having their daughter receive chemo is causing a national debate over the right to refuse a minor’s opportunity to receive chemotherapy for religious or personal reasons this week. The people in question were said to have left their home in Ohio so that their young daughter, an 11-year-old girl, will not be forced to receive the medical treatment that may save her life. FOX News describes the contention surrounding this legal decision involving a child’s health this Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

The Amish family chemo issue revolves around a couple who claims that having to appoint a guardian that is able to make their 11-year-old daughter’s medical decisions for them might very well affect the rights of different parents across the U.S. from having the freedom to make their own health-related choices for their own children.

The lawyer for the young girl’s family — the child’s name has been identified as Sarah Hershberger — is bringing their request to a state appeals court this week in order to fight against the law-mandated order that would assign a medical guardian to the child. According to the Ohio family’s legal argument as stated in their court filing early this Friday:

“Appointing [such] a guardian violates [the family’s] constitutional rights and affects the rights of all parents in Ohio.”

The guardian in question, who has remained unidentified in this Amish family chemo case, has made it known that she does not feel the appeals court should reverse their decision in having selected a medical health guardian, especially on the matter of receiving potentially life-saving chemotherapy. However, the female guardian now says that she still wants to be taken from the position in this particular trial.

Both Sarah Hershberger and her parents were said to have fled from their local farm in eastern Ohio well over three months ago and have hidden from the law in an attempt to not receive medical treatment.

Do you believe that the parents have the right to restrict having their 11-year-old daughter from getting modern medical assistance? Or does the government stepping in violate the Amish family's freedom, as they are contesting?

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