Only months before turning 18, a Connecticut girl has been told (attached file) by her state’s supreme court that she must undergo chemotherapy against her wishes in a case that has drawn national headlines and raised questions about what rights minors truly have over their bodies. The teen, identified in court papers only as “Cassandra,” was removed from her home in December after she missed medical appointments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph system. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society says the disease is highly curable, with an 85% chance of survival. Doctors proposed a six-month chemotherapy course. Without it, she is likely to die in two years. But Cassandra balked at the treatment and said she didn’t want to go through with it. Social services became involved and, after an emergency legal appeal, the state’s high court said on Jan. 8 the teen could be forced to receive the therapy. Cassandra’s case stands apart from the right-to-die movement, which aims to give terminally ill people the right to physician-assisted suicide. And she hasn’t objected to the treatment on religious grounds, which are often cited when minors or their parents on their behalf refuse medical procedures. According to Michael Taylor, one of the family’s lawyers, Cassandra has not closed the door on chemotherapy, she just wanted the chance to look into alternative options and felt she was not given time.
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