Health Impact News Editor Comments
Now that the tragic abduction of Justina Pelletier by Boston Children’s Hospital has been resolved after a national outcry, a bipartisan group of Congressional representatives are introducing new legislation to prevent the kind of medical abuses that led to Justina’s forced confinement for more than 16 months. Justina’s situation is not unique, but representative of a larger problem with Child Protection Services and hospitals all across the U.S. that use the foster care system to legally abduct children for medical research. Justina’s case received national media attention from talk show hosts such as Dr. Phil, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee and many others, due to her parents refusal to obey a court gag order on her case.
Others in the past have attempted to expose this corrupt system, such as Congresswoman Nancy Schaefer from Georgia. Congresswoman Schaefer lost her Senate seat in Georgia as a result of her speaking out, but states it was something “worth losing” for standing up for the rights of parents who were having their children kidnapped by CPS. She and her husband were found murdered in their home in 2010. You can read her report on CPS from 2007 here: http://fightcps.com/pdf/TheCorruptBusinessOfChildProtectiveServices.pdf Below is a recorded video from before her death.
Reps. Bachmann, Bass, Marino, and McDermott Introduce “Justina’s Law”
Washington, D.C. — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) joined with Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Tom Marino (R-PA), and Jim McDermott (D-WA), the co-chairs of the Foster Youth Caucus, to introduce bipartisan legislation that prohibits federal funding for medical experimentation on a ward of the State.
The bill, H.R. 4989, nicknamed “Justina’s Law”, is a response to the recent case of 16-year-old Justina Pelletier, who was finally released from Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) back to the care of her family after a 16-month custody battle between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Justina’s parents.
BCH and many other hospitals have an internal policy that allows for children who are deemed “wards of the State”, including foster children, to receive treatment or be involved in research that presents great risk even if there is no prospect of any benefit to the child.
“Whether it is one child or thousands, it is our duty to guarantee that children are kept safe from harm while in the custody of their respective states. Not all these children have families like the Pelletiers willing or able to advocate on their behalf. Sixteen months ago, Justina was a figure skater. Today, she cannot stand, sit, or walk on her own. It is unconscionable what happened to Justina, and we must do all we can to prevent it from ever happening again. Removing federal funding from such experimentation is an important first step.” – Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-06)
“Children need to be loved and cared for, not treated as something to be experimented on. Foster children are particularly vulnerable because they may not have parents to advocate for them. This bill will make it clear that children are blessings, not guinea pigs.” – Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37)
“The bonds between children and parents is sacred. The closeness and level of intimate understanding between them transcends our societal constructs. In Justina’s case, she was kept from her loved ones and essentially detained by the hospital and the state. She was lucky to have parents that fought for her and leveraged the support of the media and public officials. Yet too many children do not have parents to speak for them and look out for their health and best interests during times of physical and emotional vulnerability. That fact saddens me. It would sadden any person who knows the power of love and affection. That is why I am proud to support Reps. Bachmann, Bass, and McDermott on this legislation because no child, with parents or not, should be subject to medical experimentation under the legal designation as ward of the state.” – Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
“The strength and bravery that Justina Pelletier and her family have shown in the face of incredible hardship is a guidestar for us all. We must act to protect and cherish children in the care of a state and make sure that they are not the subject of risky medical experimentation. I look forward to working with Reps Bachman, Bass, Marino and countless other colleagues from both sides of the aisle to pass Justina’s law as quickly as possible.” – Rep. Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Click here to view the full text of H.R. 4989.
by Attorney Jonathan Emord
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