Parental Rights or Government Rights?


Daniel Hauser

A disturbing case of parental neglect (or perhaps parental rights) has arisen in Minnesota; the report is in the Digital Journal

Daniel Hauser is 13 years old, he is now in 5th grade (three years behind) but he cannot recognize the simplest written word — Daniel is illiterate. Daniel also as cancer! Daniel was diagnosed with stage IIB nodular sclerosing Hodgkin’s disease, a treatable cancer. He received one chemotherapy treatment after he was diagnosed and his cancer seemed to respond but, according to the article, “Daniel refuses to receive additional chemotherapy.”

There were some bad effects from that first chemotherapy session, as there are in almost every case. The family consulted 5 doctors and each recommended that Daniel receive additional chemotherapy but, Daniel continues to refuse further treatment.

It is, of course, Daniel’s family that is doing the refusing and the influencing of Daniel’s decisions. They are American Indians (oops! Native Americans) and believe in their traditional healing practices called Nemenhah.

Where it stands right now: A Minnesota judge has found that “Daniel Hauser is a child in need of protection or service (as) has been proved by clear and convincing evidence.” Daniel has been assigned a Guardian ad Litem and has been ordered to undergo a complete X-ray exam and the case will be back in court on May 19th.

The question stands before the court of public opinion (on which you are a jury member) should parents have the right to deny treatment for their child based on their religious beliefs?

I confess I am torn — at least up to a point! I violently object to the government inserting itself into health issues but this is a case the issue is a child’s health — a child who’s parents have apparently withheld a good education from him, have had him (as you will read in the linked article) sign affidavits that he can’t even read and have given the court the name of a doctor who has never even met Daniel as Daniel’s “primary physician. Clearly these are parents who are either too ignorant to understand that their son may die very soon without treatment (it may already be too late) or they are so devoted to their religion that the are positive that their version of alternative medicine will cure him.

For the welfare of a child, in a case where the child needs medical treatment and is not receiving it, I would have to fall on the side of forcing the treatment on him. I, if I were the judge in this case, would also be strongly inclined to remove the child from the home unless the parents allowed a qualified doctor to recommend treatment and they then complied.

News Links:

Digital Journal: Judge rules and orders treatment in religious child neglect case

Star-Tribune: Jon Tevlin: Boy with cancer should not be a casualty of ignorance, too

Blog Links:

Calvin Palmer’s Weblog: Judge overrules family’s alternative medicine to treat boy, 13, for cancer

Zionistgoldreport: Zionist Judge rules family can’t refuse chemo for boy

My other homes for my posts are: The Blogger News Network — it’s real news from real people and Opinion Forum A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life.

4 thoughts on “Parental Rights or Government Rights?

  1. I agree entirely. Government shouldn’t interfere in child’s care, regardless of whether it is medical care or education or anything else. However, in this case, a child is put in harm’s way by his parents. The judge understands that they are merely uneducated and that they are not doing it intentionally, rather, that they are trying to protect him. Because of that, he does not intend to punish them, if they co-operate.

    This is a child that may lose its life because of superstition. It must not be allowed to happen. Government *must* intervene, just as anyone else should intervene when someone is in mortal danger.

    Just one remark: the parents are not native Indians. The Nemenhah claims to follow native beliefs and practices, but does not claim to be a native tribe.

  2. Don’t blame yourself. You did not misread the article. You made a perfectly natural and logical assumption, based on the information in the article, nothing more. Maybe, I should have put explicitly that these people are not native Americans, but since the court order is a 60 page document, I had to make some choices to keep the article from becoming as long as the court order ^_^.

  3. Tsu Dho Nimh

    “Daniel’s family that is doing the refusing and the influencing of Daniel’s decisions. They are American Indians (oops! Native Americans) and believe in their traditional healing practices called Nemenhah.”

    They are NOT Native Americans and the “Nemenhah” beliefs are not traditional in any way. They were recently concocted by a non-Indian con man from Utah (Phillip Landis) so he and his followers could sell quackery under the shield of some law that protects some Native American beliefs. He’s been told to stop claiming he’s Nez Perce (by the Nez Perce) but he persists.

    Landis sells shaman status to anyone with $250 to “gift” to the band. Daniel Hauser is supposedly an “elder” but he could not explain to the judge – even with prompting – what that entailed.

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