Amish parents may lose child custody over stopping chemo

Any parent knows the stress and worry involved when one’s child is sick. For the parents of children with cancer, this pain is increased exponentially. Texas parents typically have legal say over the medical treatment of their children; however, when the parent’s religious beliefs prevent the parents to seek treatment for the child, the state government may try to step in. Parents in Minnesota are at risk for losing child custody over their daughter for refusing to make her continue her chemotherapy treatments.

The 10-year-old girl had a brain tumor, and it was removed in 2012. Upon its removal, the girl’s parents, who are of the Amish faith, decided that they wanted to discontinue chemotherapy and start using holistic treatments. The doctors insisted that the girl’s life was still in danger and that she still needed chemo, but the parents refused to continue the treatments.

Generally, parents have to right to say what kind of medical treatment their child will receive, but in this case, since the girl’s life is still said to be at risk, the child may be forced to continue treatment. If the state deems this to be the right decision, the state will take child custody away from the parents and appoint a court-appointed legal guardian for the girl. This legal guardian will then be able to make the decision to continue the girl’s treatment.

Situations such as these create media attention, and, naturally, some people are on the side of the state while others take the side of the parents. Regardless, if any Texas parent finds one’s self in a child custody situation such as this, one has legal options. Professionals in family law can help parents to explore their legal options in situations such as these in order to make the decision which is in the child’s best interest.

Source:, MN Mom Risked Losing Custody of Child over Forced Chemo, Cassie Hart, Aug. 31, 2013