Friday, July 21, 2006

Judge Orders Chemo For Abraham

***Breaking News August 16 ***
A settlement has been reached.
"It's all over. It's everything we fought for, everything we wanted to ever have, we've won. We got our freedom back," Abraham said outside the courthouse after the hearing. "
See the most recent post Abraham Cherrix, "We've Won." for details.


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UPDATE 7/26: Good New! Circuit Court stays Judge Demps Order. Details Here.

Update 7/24: Previous updates to this story are here. It has links to all previous posts and news links.

Last week, I blogged about Abraham Cherrix's fight with the state of Virginia to determine his own cancer treatment. In a Friday ruling (to avoid heavy media coverage?) Judge Demps ordered the 16 year old homeschooler to undergo chemotherapy.

A judge ruled today that a 16-year-old cancer patient fighting to use alternative treatment for his Hodgkin's disease must report to a hospital by Tuesday afternoon for testing, evaluation and treatment as doctors deem necessary, the family's attorney said.

The juvenile court judge also found Starchild Abraham Cherrix's parents neglectful for risking his health by permitting him to pursue alternative treatment of a sugar-free, organic diet and herbal supplements supervised by a clinic in Mexico, lawyer John Stepanovich said.

The parents are planning an emergency appeal on Monday to stay the enforcement of the order. Judge Demps sits on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, which means that his Order can be immediately appealed to the Circuit Court of Accomack County.

I wonder what happens if he doesn't show up on Tuesday?

John Stepanovich, the family's lawyer, said this after hearing the ruling,

"I want to caution all parents of Virginia: Look out, because Social Services may be pounding on your door next when they disagree with the decision you've made about the health care of your child,"
Considering my previous post, that's advice we all should pay close attention to. I pray for this family and hope that we can rally support around them so they will know they are not alone in this fight.

Here's a link to Today Show interview Abraham, his father, and their attorney did about a week ago. It's worth watching. This young man is quite articulate and composed.

How far is Abraham Cherrix willing to go? To jail if necessary. From the Today Show interview (HT: Rebelution),

CURRY: If the judge rules against Abraham's decision, if he says that Abraham cannot make this decision and he tries to force Abraham to go through chemotherapy, I guess, Abraham, the question is: Are you willing to go to jail for this, or, I guess, also, are your parents willing to go for--to jail for this? Abraham, you first.

Mr. A. CHERRIX: Yes, I'm willing--I am to do that because I obeyed the law by what they say. At least I try to as best as I can. If they want to put me in a juvenile detention, there's really nothing I can do about it, and I will--I will have faith that my parents will get me out. And if they take my parents away, then I will do everything in my power to help them.

I pray that the family is able to get a new judge to stay the order on Monday.

The alternative treatment Abraham is using is known as the Hoxsey Treatment which involves an organic diet and herbal supplements. Why is it a minor can get an abortion without parental consent but a cancer victim can't get his treatment WITH his parent's consent?

Here's another interesting question - Someone sent me the link to a VA statute where a minor can petition for his emanacipation after his 16th birthday if certain conditions are met. If a child can be emancipated from his parents after that age, can he be emancipated from the state? Because of the judge's ruling, the state and the parents currently share custody of Abraham.

To voice your opinion to the judge, call one of his numbers and leave a message for him or ask to speak to him during business hours. Here are his phone numbers: (757)393-2990 or (757) 399-5514. (Thanks Eric)

For more background information on this case: Pray This Never Happens To You

Related News Stories: Today Show interview

Here's the blog of another courageous 14 year old, Katie Wernecke, whose experience is similar to Abrahams. Pray for Katie.

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