A 17-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare form of cancer is being given chemotherapy against her will. The case is now going to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Doctors diagnosed the teenage girl, identified only as “Cassandra C.” in court documents, with Hodgkin's lymphoma in September of 2014 and recommended she undergo chemotherapy.
Cassandra refused the treatment, and her decision was supported by her mother.
Connecticut's Department of Children and Families got involved and successfully petitioned the court for temporary custody of the teenager. She is now receiving chemotherapy against her will.
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Michael S. Taylor, Cassandra’s mother’s attorney, filed an emergency appeal, and the state’s Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Taylor believes that the state is infringing on the teenager’s constitutional rights.
“It’s a question of fundamental constitutional rights — the right to have a say over what happens to your body, and the right to say to the government, ‘You can’t control what happens to my body,” Taylor told Fox CT.
Taylor said he will attempt to persuade the state’s Supreme Court to adopt the “mature minor doctrine.” He makes the argument that in a state where you can be charged as an adult for a crime even if you’re under the age of 18 and have an abortion without parental consent before age 18, Cassandra should be considered mature enough to have control over her own body.
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“That really ought to be up to Cassandra,” Taylor added. “It ought not to be for the state to jump in and say, 'Well, regardless of your decision, we think we know better.'”
Cassandra’s case will be heard Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Connecticut Supreme Court in Hartford. The case is likely to set precedents and have a huge impact on how the law views and treats minors across the country.
“The Supreme Court of the state has never ruled on this issue, the Supreme Court of the United States has not ruled on this issue,” Taylor added. “So it’s very significant not just for our client, and for the minor child, but for the law in general.”
Court papers indicate that Cassandra is currently undergoing chemotherapy at a local hospital. If attorneys are successful, the treatment could be stopped as soon as the Supreme Court reaches its decision.