Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Parental Sovereignty?

You may have been following the story of the parents of little Ezekiel Stephan, whose parents didn't want to use conventional medicine when he was sick with what turned out to be bacterial meningitis. In this instance, the parents, although they belong to a church, weren't refusing medical care because of their faith; it was because they had some negative experience with conventional medicine or the medical establishment in Canada and chose to use so-called alternative medicine to treat their son. Ezekiel was not only not medically treated when he was ill, he was not vaccinated against this fairly common illness, either. His parents improper action--treating a serious illness with dietary supplements, and inaction, led to his death.

His parents were convicted of "failure to provide the necessaries of life," and both received extremely light sentences, Collet's being four months of house arrest with privileges to keep medical appointments and go to church. David Collet, who sells alternative medicine products, insists that their conviction is an infringement of their parental rights to choose what medicine they deem best for their child and has used it as a rallying cry to other parents, claiming that parents have a right to not vaccinate their child without being held liable for the consequence. While the history of the development of vaccinations does include tragedies, the evidence for the lives saved by immunizations far outweighs those numbers.

At the very least, David Collet and any other parent should be willing to suffer the consequences of decisions made on his child's behalf, but he wants it both ways.  The Collets failed to provide preventative medicine and to seek proper treatment for Ezekiel when he got sick. While this is not an instance of faith healing, it is an instance where the parents claim to sovereignty has been properly overruled. We have no more right to deny our child proper medical care because of our faith than we have to choose "alternative medicine" that has no scientific evidence to support its claims.

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