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American’s Constitutional Freedom under Attack

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In New Ulm, Minnesota, the parents of a thirteen-year-old cancer patient are undergoing child protection assessment hearings because they chose doctor-prescribed dietary therapy instead of chemotherapy.
Daniel Hauser’s family physician discovered a mass in Daniel’s chest this past January. He was diagnosed with nodular sclerosing Hodgkin disease, the most common form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota recommended he undergo six rounds of chemotherapy with radiation treatments. He underwent one round of chemotherapy in February, then his parents sought a second and third opinion, including from a Mayo Clinic oncologist. They received the same opinion each time.
However, instead of further rounds of chemo, Daniel’s parents put him on a special doctor-prescribed diet, and they say the tumor is shrinking, yet now a doctor has alleged that Daniel has been a victim of medical neglect. Daniel’s parents told the child protection worker they would consider a round of chemotherapy if the cancer once again begins to grow. According to the family’s attorney, Calvin Johnson, “A young man decided not to have chemotherapy and his parents support [that decision] because his aunt died from chemotherapy and they have concerns about it.”
The attorney said the case’s main issues are freedom of religion, alternative methods of healing physical ailments, and “not to have the state force their way into their lives this way. This is unconscionable.” He said the case also involves a “parent’s legal right to protect their child.”
This case underscores AAHF’s essential role in protecting the rights of both consumers and practitioners. Even though our system of justice is supposed to protect the rights of all, it can be manipulated against those who choose non-standard options for themselves and their families. We cannot afford to let others make these decisions for us—what we eat, how we live, and what healthcare choices we make are fundamental to our “pursuit of happiness.”

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