“Disputes Between State and Religion Over Medical Treatment for Minors.”
Herrera, C.D. “Disputes Between State and Religion Over Medical Treatment for Minors.” Journal of Church and State, Oxford University Press 47, no. 4 (2005): 823–839.
Herrera takes up the dispute between state and religion over medical treatment for minors with a plea for reform, to acknowledge the legitimacy of parents’ views. Parents whose children need urgent care have few legal guidelines. “From an ethical standpoint it is hard to think of an action that the state might take that would not be problematic in light of its competing responsibilities” (824), such as costs and benefits to the state, defense of parents’ rights, religious rights, and society’s rights. Herrera agrees with parents who argue “The state’s close involvement with medical research, education, and certification keeps it from being a disinterested spectator” (829). The state’s preference for the child’s treatment “just happens to fit with the reasoning process behind scientific medicine” (829). Hospitals reflect beliefs that religions traditionally address: “those about the nature of human life and our role in the cosmos, among other things” (830), but their presuppositions also stem from scientific medicine. “This suggests that in an era when physicists and chemists are openly discussing the metaphysical presuppositions of their science, an attempt to deny that medicine has its own rituals and even superstitions will not only sound regressive, it will stand in the way of reform” (832).
Print ISSN: 0021-969X
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