Justina Pelletier Case: Statist Bullies Attack Parental Rights

Barb Wire

It is an outrageous expression of raw statism for state officials to remove a child from the custody and care of loving parents who have committed no wrong.

The “parent-ectomy” (the cynical term coined by administrators to describe making a child a ward of the State of Massachusetts) performed on Justina Pelletier by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family (DCF) and Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) is indefensible. This week, Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston holds Justina’s fate in his hands.

Liberty Counsel continues to use every legal means to free Justina Pelletier from the imprisonment of the DCF – and to stop the assault on Lou and Linda Pelletier’s parental rights.

The State of Massachusetts cannot make Justina Pelletier a prisoner merely because a doctor disagrees with the medical protocols recommended and administered by Tufts Medical Center, another highly respected medical institution responsible for her care.

Trending: Conflict of Pinterest

Her parents cannot be charged with “medical abuse” for following a regimen of effective medical treatments for their daughter’s rare condition under the direction of a well-respected institution.

And no Juvenile Court system can arbitrarily issue a “gag order” forbidding distressed parents from discussing their case publicly.

Yet, all of these nightmarish scenarios have been visited upon the Pelletier family by arrogant statist bureaucrats.

The more light is shed on this tragic situation, the more it becomes apparent that the DCF and BCH have grossly violated this young woman’s and her family’s rights.

Parental rights are increasingly being marginalized.

For the State of Massachusetts to dictate to parents the course of care their children should receive is the height of hubris and arrogance – particularly when the care Justina Pelletier was receiving under licensed physicians at Tufts was clearly working.

Massachusetts Representative Jim Lyons, who is among the state legislators spearheading a legislative effort to investigate this case, said this type of government overreach must come to an end:

“The fact that a state bureaucracy believes that it can interfere with parental rights, constitutionally protected rights, is incredible. We have to stop it in Massachusetts and we have to stop it throughout the country. Parents have rights and bureaucrats should not interfere with those rights.”

Nationwide, we are seeing an alarming trend: Parental rights are increasingly under siege. We cannot allow this disenfranchisement to continue without a fight.

If you were in the Pelletier’s shoes, you would doubtless wage an aggressive legal fight to obtain justice. I’m proud that Liberty Counsel is doing just that.

A court ruling is expected this week.

Massachusetts Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Johnston is considering three options in determining Justina’s fate this week.

He could direct that Justina remain at the Framingham Youth and Family Center where she is living now by order of the DCF, transfer her to the custody of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, or release her to the care of her parents.

The DCF wants want to kick the can to Connecticut and have her under care of DCF there. But if Massachusetts has no basis for custody, then neither does Connecticut. They didn’t have valid reasons in February 2013 to make her a ward of the state, and they’ve never had a single reason to remove Justina from her home.

For now, Justina remains a ward of the state. This experience has left the Pelletier family to endure the trauma of their daughter being virtually imprisoned by the DCF while she suffers extreme emotional distress and deteriorating health.

If there is no significant movement on this case toward the family getting Justina back, Liberty Counsel will consider all other state and federal remedies to put an end to this tragedy of 14 months. We will exhaust every legal means at our disposal to return Justina to her family and home.

This is a tragic case that is now getting national media attention solely because a father dared to stand up to statist bullies.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Mathew D. Staver is Chairman and Founder of Liberty Counsel®, an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. With offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and an outreach in Israel, Liberty Counsel has hundreds of advocates around the world.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.