By Brad Matthews | Watchdog.org
In Connecticut, a teenage girl with cancer made the personal choice to eschew chemotherapy treatment. The state disagreed. Now the girl is filing a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court.
17-year-old Cassandra had been diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma back in September. Doctors recommended that she undergo chemotherapy treatment, but she decided not to undergo the treatment with the support of her mother. The state decided to take things into its own hands, according to CBS affiliate WTIC.
In November, the Connecticut Department of Children & Families filed a successful petition for temporary custody of Cassandra in order to force her to take the treatment. Her mother was ordered to cooperate with the treatment, administered under DCF supervision.
Cassandra ran away after two treatments, refusing to undergo any more chemotherapy. Court documents state that “Following a hearing at which Cassandra’s doctors testified, the trial court ordered that she be removed from her home and that she remain in DCF’s care and custody. The court also authorized DCF to make all necessary medical decisions on Cassandra’s behalf.”
Cassandra and her mother appealed the ruling on constitutional grounds, arguing that the court’s decision violated Cassandra’s rights to bodily autonomy and that the DCF overruled them without finding either of them incompetent. Cassandra’s mother’s attorney, Michael Taylor, told WTIC that “It’s a question of fundamental constitutional rights–the right to have a say over what happens to your body–and the right to say to the government ‘you can’t control what happens to my body’.”
Court documents also state that the pair cited that “Connecticut’s common law and public policy dictate that DCF cannot force Cassandra to receive medical treatment over her knowing and informed objection and over the knowing and informed objection of her mother.”
The case will be heard at the Connecticut Supreme Court in Hartford on Thursday. This case is a first for the court; the issue here–over minors and bodily autonomy–has also never been handled by the national Supreme Court.