24 February 2015
Should parents have the right to follow their religion and withhold medical attention from their children?
Courts have generally interpreted the concept of religion very broadly to include the religious beliefs and practices. One of these practices and beliefs is that personal freedom to choose prayer and/or a ritual over having medical treatment. Some parents or guardians may wish to make the same options for their children. I believe that even though religion is important to people the need for medical treatment is more important because it could save a life, prevent widespread disease, guarantee safety, and allowing a child to live a full and productive life.
Problems sometimes occur when minors can’t give the consent and the parents are responsible to make a decision. Parents and guardians are generally given almost complete freedom in denying medical treatment. Such faiths like Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, Christen Scientist and so many more deny life saving medicine to their children in view of rejecting god. The medicine that could be given could save a child’s life but the child cannot have it. In Oregon City a couple chose prayer over seeking medical help to save their sick 15-month old child, Ava, who died in March 2008 of a simple treatable disease known as pneumonia and a blood infection. The doctor said, “ She (Ava) could have been saved by a simple antibiotic.”
Some diseases that could be contained by a vaccine are easily widespread due to religious belief of withholding medicine. Think about when you were a child you were vaccinated for measles, now what would happen if a child was not vaccinated, how many more are at risk of catching measles. Vaccines are in place to prevent widespread diseases. There could be so many lives