So how does this relate to human rights? While perusing some blog posts about it, I discovered that one of my favorite sci-bloggers, Orac, at Respectful Insolence, had a post on it. In the comments, Coin, a regular poster at several sci-blogs, said this;
Something that continually bothers me in discussions of both mainstream and "alternative" medicine is the enormous extent to which parents have basically complete leeway in performing anything they personally interpret as "medical care" on their children. This degree of leeway is rarely if ever questioned, and when it is questioned the reaction to said questioning is generally universal horror, with even quite modest limits on a parent's ability in this regard being thought of as some kind of horrible totalitarian abrogation of rights.This is a very difficult question indeed, not nearly as simple as it seems on it's face. Add to that the question posed in the next comment, by Jon H;
The rights of the child, on the other hand, don't seem to really ever come up, even if the medical care in question potentially has serious consequences for (or prevents entirely) the later life of the child the once they are no longer a minor.
If not the parents, then who?Indeed. While Dully's is obviously an extreme case, it is an important one. Especially when considered in conjunction with situations where parents choose to utilize non-evidence based medicine, over lifesaving or life-extending treatments for cancer. Cases that have even led to bad law. While I tend to be one who appreciates fairly definitive lines in the law, the rights of children is a very gray area indeed.
This is true far beyond the context of medicine. Parents make many decisions for their children, that will affect the lives of their children for the rest of their lives. The intricacies of the rights of children and the rights of parents to make decisions for them, is a very wide range discussion indeed. For the sake of simplicity, I would limit this post and the discussion I hope it provokes in the comments to parental rights and the limits thereof, to the context of medicine. I have some thoughts rolling around my head, that I may post to the front page later, unless comments overtake my ability to update this post, in which case, I'll just continue this there.
I am genuinely curious what others think about this and hope that you will click on the comments link and leave your thoughts.