This is a commentary on a Project Censored article which can be found here.
Each person brought into the world has a valuable life and should not be taken for granted. A child’s parent should not have the authority to refuse medical treatment and allow the child to die without at least attempting to save them. The ethical problem raised by this story is that people should not be dying from an illness that can be cured. If you are willing to bring a child into the world, you as a parent should do everything you can to protect and make sure that child has a healthy and long life. A child is entrusted to the parent and the parent therefore has a duty not to abuse that trust by not seeking medical attention necessary to save the child’s life. Indeed, by not giving their children the medical attention they need, the parents are treating them like objects instead of humans. They are being treated more like objects because their right to life is not being respected insofar as they are denied proper medical attention. Parents who believe in faith-healing should not be ashamed to also believe in medical assistance to help their child live no matter what their religious community may think. Having the audacity to watch your child die of a curable illness is the moral equivalent of murdering them. If your religious community judges and pressures you into making the wrong choices then are they really the right religious community for you? No person or group should have the power to manipulate you into making decisions that prevent you from saving your child’s life. Parents, after allowing their children to die from curable illnesses, have to live with the thought that they were personally responsible for their children’s deaths. They may try to hide their responsibility from themselves, making themselves feel better about it because it is the way their religious practice does things, but if parents truly love their children, there is no way they couldn’t live with deep, all-pervasive guilt.
Further, Senator Lee Heider is unwilling to get involved. He believes that no one should have the right to interfere with someone’s religious views even though no one should have the right to purposely allow someone to die. Without the support of the Senator and other lawmakers willing to do anything to prevent such needless deaths, the amount of deaths in the community will only continue to rise.
With statistics proving that medical care assistance would save the lives of these children, lawmakers should step in and stop trying to ignore the problem. This problem could be easily addressed if they supported a law that would penalize the parents if they voluntarily let their child die. Such a law could incentivize the parents toward helping their children rather than worrying about their religious reputation within their community. Such a law would not only help children get the medical assistance they need; it would also help the parents overcome social pressure from their religious affiliations. Making their own independent decisions about the welfare of their children would bear more positive results for both the parents and their children than simply allowing other people to make these decisions for them.