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Shirley Cheng

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Parental Rights in Children's Medical Care: Where Is Our Freedom to Say No?
by Shirley Cheng   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, January 11, 2007
Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2007

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What's a more frightening nightmare for parents than their children's illness? It is the fear of losing custody of their children.

What's a more frightening nightmare for parents than their children's illness? It is the fear of losing custody of their children.

In America, parents risk losing custody of their children forever when they disagree with doctors' recommended treatments or even when they want a second opinion.

That's what happened to the Werneckes in Texas in 2005, Corissa Mueller in 2002, Pam Anderson in 2000, Tina Phifer in 1997, and a slew of other parents and children who have been victimized throughout American history. My mother Juliet Cheng was one parent whose child was forcefully and wrongly taken away by Child Protective Services over treatment disputes--not only once, but twice. The first time happened when I was twenty-two months old because my mother requested the doctor to stop giving me aspirin, which was worsening my condition and causing severe side effects. The second custody case occurred when I was seven years old after she had wisely chosen not to follow a doctor's plan to operate on six of my joints at once during the time when I had no medication to control my inflammation.

Fortunately, she won me back both times so I did not receive the unnecessary, harmful treatments that would send me to my grave.

The last custody case in 1990 made international headlines. My mother appeared on CBS This Morning with Paula Zahn, and the news was reported on CNN, in New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, among many other major media outlets. She gained worldwide support, including from celebrities like Connie Chung and Katharine Hepburn.

When I was seven, I did not have a voice. Now, sixteen years later, I am here to speak for every parent and child because everyone is a potential victim to this injustice when the child falls ill--including your own child or grandchild. I am here to help today's loving parents protect and keep custody of their children.

It is a crime when doctors force unwanted or harmful treatments on children, and it is a violation against humanity when the state tears loving parents and children apart.

The American government needs to deal with each case according to its unique needs, instead of acting upon the same plan for every case. Just because a loving parent who only wants the best for their child disagreed with a medically recommended treatment does not mean their child should be torn away from them. In this democratic land of independence, the medical laws are extremely out of place.

America will be better if it gives freedom to devoted, competent parents. The average parent wants the best for their child. We, the patients in our own bodies and caregivers who have cared for the patients for years, know what is best for us, better than any doctor or nurse.

So, what is the question here regarding the parental rights issue? Is it who loves the children the most or is it who knows what's the best for the children? I believe that question could only be answered by God. God created us, so He must know what's the best for each and every one of us, but He gives us free will and the rights to care for ourselves on our own.

But instead, our own people took away our rights, snatching children away from parents--their primary source of love and care--in order to do what's "best" for the children.

Can't we decide what's best for ourselves?

Where is our freedom to say no?

Web Site: Dance with Your Heart! Inspirational, Fantasy Books and Poems by Shirley Cheng, Advocate, Speaker

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Reviewed by Jennifer Butler
Bow wow. You take my puppies, and I'll hunt you down as the wolf.
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