Term Paper: Refusal of Medical Treatment Based on Religion

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Refusal of Medical Treatment Based on Religion

Decisions made on religious grounds are not considered to be rational; however, serious medical decisions (including the refusal of treatment) can only be made based and accepted on rational grounds. For example, if the risk of bad side effects is really high, the medical treatment could be refused (Medical treatment & Religion 2007). From there, most refusals come from religious beliefs, which some children suffer the consequences of their parents decision (Bridge 1999). It is obvious that refusal of medical treatment-based religion can be a risky decision when considering children's health.

From there, over two hundred children have died the last three decades due to the fact that the parents refused medical treatment because of their religion (Child Welfare vs. Parental Autonomy: Medical Ethics, the Law, and Faith-Based Healing 2004).

Parents, go right ahead and make a martyrs of yourself. I'm all for your right to effectively kill yourself by refusing medical treatment (maybe you shouldn't procreate anyway.) but that doesn't mean that you are free to make martyrs of your children before they have reached the age of legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves. (Loosely taken from Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944)). Let's not get too caught up in the parents' hugfest of religious rights that we forget all about the child's rights. A child's right to good health supersedes the parents' religious beliefs. Parents have an obligation to provide support for their children. If they can't (or won't) do so, then the state has an obligation to" (Medical Treatment withheld via Parental religious beliefs).

Along with that, minors were not considered legally capable of making medical decisions and were viewed as incompetent because of their age. The authority to consent or refuse treatment for a minor remained with a parent or guardian (Hickey 2007).This parental authority was derived from the constitutional right to privacy regarding family matters, common law rule, and a general presumption that parents or guardians will act in the best interest of their incompetent child However, over the years, the courts have gradually recognized that children younger than 18 years who show maturity and competence deserve a voice in determining their course of medical treatment (Hickey 2007).

On the other hand, due to the circumstances, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) was enacted by Congress because of its concern with an increasing number of reports that hospital emergency rooms were refusing to accept or… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Refusal of Medical Treatment Based on Religion."  Essaytown.com.  November 5, 2007.  Accessed October 21, 2019.