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Nev. Limits Parent Rights in Medical Care

Nevada Carson City 2004

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#1 Shalamar

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 05:43 AM

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CARSON CITY, Nev. - Children should receive life-saving medical treatments even if their parents object, the Nevada Supreme Court decided Tuesday in ruling against a Jehovah's Witness couple who refused a blood transfusion for their premature son.

After Jason and Rebecca Soto refused the transfusion for the infant in 2001, a Las Vegas hospital performed it anyway. Afterward, a Clark County district judge named the hospital as a temporary guardian to ensure such medical care would continue.

The Sotos then appealed to the Supreme Court, which held Tuesday that the parents' interest in the care of their child "is not absolute."

"The state also has an interest in the welfare of children and may limit parental authority, even permanently depriving parents of their children," the justices wrote.

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I have always felt that 'religously motivated' refusal of medical treatment was ...not wise, but I've always respected a persons religous beliefs...it seems to me that the courts is saying the state has a right to overrule your religous beliefs  ( aarrgh this is not coming out right, thats what I get for trying to put it into words at 5 in the morning )

More thoughts later....
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#2 Gefiltefishmon

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:28 AM

Shalamar I understand, it's hard to express sometimes.

Personally I feel that children should be given the choice in matters of religion, though most zealous worshippers would call me the devil incarnate for that; I was force fed religion as a child and the instant I was able to break away I did and I refuse to attempt to brainwash my children. They know about my beliefs they know I go to the temple - they have come with me a few times, but they are free to choose. When they are interested, they can come and learn - for parents to force a religion on a child who actually believes B*rn*y is real is criminal - children cannot judge for themselves until they are older and parents who let children come to harm to assuage THEIR religious comfort level is criminal in my mind. Children are not property!

Bravo Nevada!
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#3 QueenTiye

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:57 AM

Gelfitefishmon - religious education doesn't have to be brainwashing.  In fact, I'd argue that it isn't - brainwashing is something very different.  While you apparently don't practice a religion, if you did, I doubt that the manner of your instruction to your children would resemble brainwashing in any way.  Giving a child a true religious education IS giving the child a choice.  That said - I agree with the Nevada decision so long as they are limiting to life-saving, and so long as there is some burden of proof on the hospital and the state that procedures are indeed life-saving.  Parents DON'T have absolute rights over their children - leaving children home alone, physically abusing them, and other things are circumstances in which the state has a compelling right to override the wishes of the parents in the interest of the child.

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#4 Gefiltefishmon

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 09:46 AM

Well actually I do practice a religion of a sort - I'm a Buddhist, 16 years on now. Tibetan Buddhism aside, I don't think it's necessarily a religion for children. We teach them about right living and right thought, we teach them about morality and the things they need to know, but I would never in a million years try to tell them "This is the way it is" - I'm often not as articulate on these kinds of things as I would like to be. Sorry.

As opposed to the Jewish Education that was beaten (literally) into me as a child - which I DO consider brainwashing - or the two years my Son spent in Catholic school (we had no choice, it was the only school we could afford) where they unrepentantly drummed their religious views into his head (which, ok, it's their school, it's what they do) but I didn't like it much when he came home one day and asked my wife why she wants to go to hell - I thought that was a bit much. Now he's in a MUCH better school where they A) are better equipped to deal with his ADHD and B) where he gets exposed to a broad variety of religious viewpoints. Al is not capapble of understanding a lot of the things that he was being taught, but now as he is getting older he is coming to grips with his own particular viewpoint and not merely regurgitating the viewpoint that was given him.
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#5 G1223

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 09:57 AM

And if a person's faith says that anyone who receives a transfusion has had their soul pollutied or poisoned their just being silly and should have the beliefs overridden.
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#6 QueenTiye

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 10:02 AM

Depends, G.  If the transfusion is life-saving, then the parents don't have a right to take that from the child - although they do have a right to decide against that themselves.

Dealing with this from a religious perspective - if no one is ever going to make wrong decisions in life, and then become forgiven for it later, religions need to stop proselytizing, and only make babies born pure and kept pure.  But that's not the position of Jehovah's Witnesses, is it?  So - they can't in good conscience agree to the transfusion (assuming they can't think their way through this one on their own.  I bet lots of parents do.)  But the state CAN, and SHOULD, in good conscience, remove that decision from the parents, once its clear that the parents are going to decide against the interests of the child's right to life.

What's interesting here is some of us would argue (religiously) the opposite if the child were not born - the child's right to life supercedes the parent's rights, we might say...

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#7 G1223

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 10:13 AM

Then when the state should be prepared to pay for the mediacl expenses. I could see the parents refuse to take the child back. Or worse.
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#8 QueenTiye

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 10:30 AM

Really?  You can see that?  And if you can see that, would you WANT to send the child back? :(

#9 G1223

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 10:47 AM

HM welcome to the extreams of faith. There are folks who would feel that the child now is possesed and need to drive the spirit out. Where is the line to be redrawn when it comes to Faith-vs-The state.


Would I have wanted the let the child die? No. Would I be saddened by the parents letting the child die? Yes. Would I have taken their rights to do what they thought was right to save their child soul? No.
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#10 Godeskian

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 10:54 AM

i'm having season 1 B5 flashbacks reading this thread. Believers anyone?

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#11 QueenTiye

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 10:58 AM

G1223, on Apr 7 2004, 11:45 AM, said:

HM welcome to the extreams of faith. There are folks who would feel that the child now is possesed and need to drive the spirit out. Where is the line to be redrawn when it comes to Faith-vs-The state.
At the right of one human being to rob another human being of life and the right to choose.  Gelfitefishmon started by talking about religious education.  Parents have a right to teach their faith to their children.  But children have a right to grow up, and decide to continue or not in the faith of their parents.  Unless that right is taken from them BY their parents.  

And quite frankly - whatever the exorcism rites that need to be performed - so what?  As long as they don't constitute a danger to the child physically, or emotionally, the parents are free to do that.  Once the child is a permanent outcast from the family that constitutes emotional abuse, and once the child is physically beaten to get the bad spirits out... that constitutes physical abuse.  Etc.  Its not really all that hard to draw the line, imho.

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#12 Bad Wolf

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 10:59 AM

Yes Believers.  Only believers took it even a step further adding the extra layer of it being another race all together.  That said, in Believers, the child was old enough to speak to Sinclair and tell him that he wanted to follow his parents' faith.  An infant doesn't have that option.

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#13 G1223

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 04:03 PM

There are religions that prohibit transfusion of blood. of surguries being perfomred,or that certain medical services not be performed. Children have died for the above reasons.

Parents are assumed by law to have best wishes of the child's welfare at heart.  Do we prohibit the people of these faith's from having the right to make these choices for  their children?

Then what other actions could the state prohibit? Home schooling as they will not give the child the full range of social interaction?  Attending services as they may discourage higher education or the value of women into our culture as equals?
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And if you want to save these shores. For Pity sake Don't Trust them.
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When the fall is all that remains. It matters a great deal.

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#14 LJW

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 05:46 PM

G1223, on Apr 7 2004, 04:01 PM, said:

There are religions that prohibit transfusion of blood. of surguries being perfomred,or that certain medical services not be performed. Children have died for the above reasons.

Parents are assumed by law to have best wishes of the child's welfare at heart.  Do we prohibit the people of these faith's from having the right to make these choices for  their children?

Then what other actions could the state prohibit? Home schooling as they will not give the child the full range of social interaction?  Attending services as they may discourage higher education or the value of women into our culture as equals?
I have to agree with G.  Let's turn this around.  What if a couple has an infant that has a life threatening illness requiring a blood transfusion.  This couple comes from Timbucktoo.  They live in the US because they are getting education here.  They will be returning to Timbucktoo.  In Timbucktoo culture it is forbidden to have a blood transfusion.  This has nothing to do with religion.  It has to do with the ways of an entire culture.  

Would you all feel it was appropriate  for the government to step in and strip these parents of their culture beliefs by taking away custody and giving it to a hospital?  Do you feel it was appropriate to do this to the parents of the baby with a religous objection because it is about their religious beliefs. (something that others often believe is expendible) vs the beliefs of an entire culture.

I believe it is totally inappropriate for the government to have stepped in at all.  These people were not breaking the law by abusing their child.  They were following their beliefs that they will pass on to their children.  They believed whatever happened to their child without the transfusion was God's will.  Whether you chose to believe or not, would you so easily disrespect your own beliefs?

The line between church and state, parental rights,  and individual rights gets blurrier each day.

Edited by LJW, 07 April 2004 - 06:01 PM.


#15 Shalamar

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 05:53 PM

Thank you LJW, that is what I was trying to get out.

Does the state have the right to say 'we don't like your religious beliefs, so there for we are going to take your children away from you'?  That is a great part of what I see happening here.

As I said in my first post I believe avoiding medical assistance because of religious beliefs very stupid at best.  I do not agree with that, but I am looking at the over all precedent set.

#16 Bad Wolf

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 06:04 PM

You guys are acting like this is the first time something like this has happened.  Doesn't anyone remember the case of the parents prosecuted for murder for failing to get their kid medical care and instead following the doctrine of some church they belonged to?  Would you prefer for this baby to be dead and the parents lives ruined forever?  I wouldn't.
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#17 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 06:13 PM

I'm shocked...absolutely shocked. Altough, given the Governments tendency to enter where they have no business being, guess I really shouldn't be surprised.

So much for the seperation clause...that just went right out the gorram window didn't it?

Now the state is going to interfere in the religious practices of it's people...despite the seperation clause. Pretty soon the State will be telling the people what GOD they can and can't worship. Thank GOD I don't live in Nev.
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#18 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 06:24 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Apr 7 2004, 06:02 PM, said:

You guys are acting like this is the first time something like this has happened.  Doesn't anyone remember the case of the parents prosecuted for murder for failing to get their kid medical care and instead following the doctrine of some church they belonged to?  Would you prefer for this baby to be dead and the parents lives ruined forever?  I wouldn't.
I remember that case...and I still don't think the parents should've been charged.

I also wouldn't want to see the child in this case dead...But that does NOT give the state the right to tell parents what religious believes their children can and can not partake in! Period. the end.

You do remember a little thing called the seperation of church and state, right?
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#19 LJW

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 06:27 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Apr 7 2004, 06:02 PM, said:

Would you prefer for this baby to be dead and the parents lives ruined forever?  I wouldn't.
Of course I don't want this baby to be dead.  I would do all my power to convince the parents to change their minds short of taking their rights away from them.  

I do remember that case of the parent s on trial for murder.  Bravo to them for standing by their beliefs.

Personally, I don't agree with their religion at all.  But what happens when the state steps in as says that catholics can't use incense in their services as it causes second hand smoke and all the non-smokers have a right to a smoke free environment?  It sounds like an ridiculous example but what is the difference really.  If we use the excuse of "health of a minor" for the line in the sand where does it stop?  It is a very slippery slope.  

Speaking of the loss of seperation of church and state.  The government steps each day to regulating religion.

#20 Bad Wolf

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Posted 07 April 2004 - 07:05 PM

And what if the religion called for female "circumcision" at birth or for a woman to be stoned to death for showing her face in public?  I'm sorry Laura there ARE lines and it seems to me that mutilation and death are really easy, clear ones to draw.  

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