Just days after a Massachusetts mom was found guilty of attempted murder for withholding medication from her son, a Detroit mom has lost custody of her daughter for refusing to give her meds.
The cases could not be more different, though. In the Massachusetts case, Kristin Labrie withheld lifesaving chemotherapy from her autistic son, apparently because she was so overwhelmed and depressed she couldn’t bear the pain the meds caused him.
In the Detroit case, Maryanne Godboldo’s 13-year-old daughter began acting strangely, so she took her to a doctor who prescribed anti-psychotic medication. The drug seemed to be making her daughter worse, she thought. Then Godboldo did what many parents would do: she sought a second opinion. She wound up working with a holistic doctor instead.
This is where the story gets weird.
CPS stepped in, saying that mom was in denial about her daughter’s mental health issues. They forcibly removed the girl from her home after a 10-hour-standoff during which the mom fired a gun (but not at anyone, her lawyers would like you to know). Now she’s in a mental health hospital. Here’s the really strange thing: the doctors treating her now say she doesn’t need the antipsychotic medication.
What happened there?
Jezebel thinks CPS overreacted:
…a child seems to have been removed from her home solely because she wasn’t getting a medication she may not even have needed. While parents shouldn’t be allowed to jeopardize their children’s physical or mental health, Godboldo doesn’t seem to have been doing either — and, in a terrible irony, the removal that was supposed to help the teen may instead have harmed her. Without knowing more about the girl’s ailments or the nature of her treatment, it’s hard to say what would’ve been best for her. But taking her away from her mother doesn’t seem to have been the answer.
Ya think?!? They brought in a SWAT team to take this girl away from her mom because she wouldn’t medicate her. That seems excessive no matter what the circumstances were.
I can’t help but feel that we’re not getting the whole story here, but in some ways the whole story doesn’t matter. The questions this story brings up, incomplete as it may be, are about how powerfully government should be allowed to reach into the lives of families and make decisions for parents.
As the Massachusetts case showed, there is a limit to the leeway parents can have about their children’s medical care. LaBrie was convicted of attempted murder for failing her son when he needed her most: to administer an unpleasant but lifesaving medication.
This case is totally different. This woman wasn’t denying her daughter care; she was working with a doctor. A doctor who advised her against giving her kid this powerful medication. Parents do this sort of thing all the time: they’re faced with options about the best course of care for a sick child, and they make the best choice they can. Should the state really be allowed to call the shots on that?