Medical treatment & Religion

Last session we had a debate on the Motion THBT parents should not have the right to deny medical treatment to their children on religious grounds. I must say that the debate turned out to be rather exciting. Moreover, I can see that the new Year1 people have both brains and ability to speak. That’s the way to keep it up!!

On the argumentation side, though:
Gov’t args

  • Children have their own human right to decide upon their medical treatment. For example, they might believe in a religion that allows the kind of treatment that is refused by the parents;
  • Decisions made on religious grounds are not rational; however, serious medical decisions (including the refusal of treatment) can only be made based and accepted on rational grounds, for example, the probability of survival is very low but the risk of bad side effects is really high so the medical treatment could be refused;
  • Children don’t have right to decide but this right is granted to either the parents or the Gov’t. Plus Gov’t has the role to protect and care for children as they do with setting the regulations for compulsory education or when taking away parental rights of bad parents. Similar logics apply with medical treatment – Gov’t has to make sure that the kid receives the best treatment, hence Gov’t should intervene and protect the kid by allowing her to be treated (Gov’t should make the decision instead of children);
  • The model would not discredit believers or their attitude towards Gov’t as Gov’t has done similar things by forcing compulsory women education in those Muslim states where females are thought to be inferior.

Opp args

  • Parents have the ultimate right over children and Gov’t has no right to interfere. Parents have given birth to the kid, plus the final responsibility is asked from the parents, so the parents must be given all possible decisions about kids. The ultimate responsibility of parents can be questioned if the kid herself comments or asks for it;
  • Parents can decide upon the religion of their kids (by baptizing them etc.) so if the kid has the same religion that refuses medical treatment, it is ok that it is refused.

What would you say, any idea?

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2 responses to “Medical treatment & Religion

  1. I am not entirely sure if the Opp arguments on principles work here. If you claim that parents have the ultimate decision making power over their children, then you implicitly reject the concept of children’s rights altogether. You would then also have to recognise the rights of parents to abuse their children in various ways, which is not something anyone would agree with (unless you’re a complete crackpot). So thinking of Opp’s arguments, they are much more likely to be practical than theoretical here.

  2. ”I can see that the new Year1 people have both brains and ability to speak” – that’s because I wasn’t there..
    Nice Gov args, btw.

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