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In my opinion, as of late, too many people are taking advantage of their rights and acting dangerously out of line. HOWEVER, I do not believe the young woman, Cassandra Callender is one of them. One news article quotes; ” ‘Wrong on the law, first of all, the state of Conneticut has an obligation to preserve the life of an infant. The state of Conneticut has an obligation to prevent suicide. If she does not get the treatment, this is a form of suicide, and frankly the American Civil Liberties Union is complicit in her death if she dies.’ Johnson said.” So I ask: Will the state of Conneticut be complicit if Cassandra dies before finishing the chemotherapy treatment, since they forced her into getting it against her will? While I do agree that a child does not always have the best life experiences to make a life altering decision, I also think that neither do adults. If she was 18, would the state of Conneticut still see this as a form of suicide because as of 18 years of age, she would be allowed to choose. So why do you change a person’s right to choose when it comes to their body, into a suicidal matter, when some people die before finishing chemotherapy – is that then murder? what is wrong with this world and their opinionated justifications for certain circumstances when it is most convenient for them.

Cancer is a horrific disease where many kinds and many stages have a higher probability of death and it is often said that without treatment, the probability is higher. HOWEVER, I have knowledge and insight on the affects of chemotherapy and radiation that surpass a simple opinion. Chemotherapy is a poison injected into the body to kill the cancer but one must first survive the chemo and not everybody is capable of such an infliction. I think people should have the right to choose if they want to endure their last few months getting treatments that may help regardless of sickness and consequence, or if they want to accept the impending probability of death and live their last few months out as they wish. The people I love, I, OF COURSE, would want to get the treatments done because if without it, they could die but with it they could live, I want them to live but for myself, I cannot say if I would make the same decision. It is unfortunate but it also a reality, that doctors do not know everything when it comes to cancer. They are estimating based on science and statistic and sometimes they are surprised at a person’s capability or struggle with enduring the treatments and medications. They deem Cassandra not mature because souly of her age and while I do think a 17 year old and a 27 year old have very different mentalities – in the same situation, a 27 year old could also refuse treatment – it does not make her immature or unaware of the risk she’s taking – it is simply her choice in how she wants to spend her life and what she thinks is best for it.

I also do not think it makes her mother a bad mother because she supports her decision. No one understands or knows what it is like to have cancer or what having that decision feels like aside from the patient. Every person who loves a patient wants what’s best for them but no matter how much you love someone, or what strong opinion you have on something – you have no idea what you will do until you are faced with the situation, enduring the circumstance, and in the position to make such a choice. And at such a crucial point in her life, how dare they put her in the care of welfare and strip her from a mother. “Child welfare agency officials defended their treatment of Cassandra, saying they have a responsibility to protect her.” Cassandra’s mother does not want her daughter to die – they wanted to explore alternative treatment methods and they are absolutely entitled to second opinions. I would’ve moved out of Conneticut. I understand an outsider’s perspective of the situation and how important a child’s life is, especially if there’s even a chance of saving it but I also understand first hand, the toll chemotherapy and radiation take on your life and you are killing your body to hopefully kill the cancer and hopefully come out of it alive. It is risky, as is anything in medicine and I think people have the right to choose and seek second, third, and forth opinions. And I can also assure you – even though Cassandra is not 18, her mother could not force her to get the treatment because she is not a five year old child – she is not an infant – she’s a young adult – and therefore, she made a choice to support her daughter and explore other options rather than lose her child, not just in death. Perhaps that’s something the world should see and understand before making such cruel remarks on her ability to be a good mother.

It is truly a controversial situation where in some aspects, I understand both sides – regardless of which side I choose to stand on it BUT I do not agree with stripping the girl from her mother and portraying her as a bad mother. The people doing this have opinions but they may not have ever cared for a person they love more than life, who has cancer and I tell you having cancer or watching someone close to you endure it .. it’s not something you can imagine and your judgment of a person’s actions during it – isn’t your right to judge. Accepting her daughter’s choice and giving her a chance to take this tragic news in is no easy task but that is something you do when you love someone and that is why she is her mother and you are not.

-Allison Ryder

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