Court Rules Teen Must Undergo Chemo

Connecticut 17-year-old thinks it will do more harm than good
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2015 4:59 PM CST
Court Rules Teen Must Undergo Chemo
Jackie Fortin of Windsor Locks, Conn., right, stands outside the Connecticut Supreme Court in Hartford, Conn., with Judy Stephens, 51, a chemo opponent.   (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)

A 17-year-old girl in Connecticut lost a court battle today to stop her chemotherapy treatments. The state Supreme Court ruled that child-welfare authorities were within their rights to take temporary custody of the teen because she and her mom think the chemo will do more harm than good, reports the Hartford Courant. As a result, the girl identified only as "Cassandra C." will continue to undergo a six-month course of the treatment for her Hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors insist she will die without it, and they give her an 85% chance of recovery if she completes it.

Today's hearing revolved around whether Cassandra was mature enough to make her own decisions despite being under 18, reports AP. (Her birthday is in September.) Lawyers for the state maintain that she's been manipulated by her mother, Jackie Fortin, who opposes the "poison" of chemo, but Fortin insists her daughter's choice is her own. "This is her decision and her rights, which is what we are here fighting about," she says. "We should have choices about what to do with our bodies." Fortin may take their case back to a lower court, but the chemo treatments will continue in the meantime at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford. Cassandra is confined in a room there. (More chemotherapy stories.)

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