Child of the Stars or Ward of the State?


A 16-year-old Virginian with lymph node cancer is sick of chemotherapy; a social worker wants him to be forced to undergo it. A judge has granted a temporary order finding his parents neglectful for allowing him to make his own medical choices, and claims joint custody of young Starchild Abraham Cherrix for the Accomack County Department of Social Services. Starchild's father summed it up well in this Associated Press account:

"What it boils down to is does the American family have the right to decide on the health of their child or is the government allowed to come in and determine that themselves and threaten one way or the other to split our family up?"

A 2001 Reason feature story from me about government and families butting heads over medical decisions about minors.

A 1997 Reason feature story from me about cancer patients–adults and children–who wanted to pursue some very alternative cancer treatments butting heads with an FDA that thought it knew best. Here is a list from the National Cancer Institute of clinical trials involving the particular alternative therapy/rank quackery (you make the call!) at issue in that piece.