Can the State Steal your Children?

You raised her. You sat up with her, rocking her and patting her back, soothing her when she had an upset stomach. You changed her diapers, you wiped her nose, you held her little chubby hands as she took her first awkward and tentative steps. You watched her little cherubic smile as she said her first words, ‘momma’ and ‘dadda.’


But according to a judge in Massachusetts, The State can take her.

That’s the situation with Lou and Linda Pelletier, parents of Justina Pelletier, a fifteen year old girl who was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. It’s a group of genetic disorders that affect how cells produce energy, often causing problems with the GI tract, as well as the brain, muscles, and heart, and it can be very painful.

But Dr. Mark Korson, chief of metabolism at Tufts Medical Center had it handled. He was the one who diagnosed Justina and was the girl’s physician. She and her parents were happy with the treatment he was giving her, and Justina was doing well, competing in ice-skating events and was relatively healthy, managing her condition.

Now she’s in a wheelchair.

The medical staff at Boston Children’s Hospital decided that Dr. Korson didn’t know what he was talking about. Justine had been taken there for Flu symptoms about a year ago and the medical staff of Boston Children’s Hospital took over. One of the doctors there said he “didn’t believe” in mitochondrial disease, ABC reported, and they surmised that her condition was all in her mind. Yes, the team of doctors at Boston Children’s say that Justine isn’t really in any pain, as she claims.

Apparently, she just thinks she is.

They say the condition for which Dr. Korson had been treating Justina is not what is wrong with her at all. Rather, the girl has another condition known as somatoform disorder. WebMD, an online medical information site, states,

“Doctors need to perform many tests to rule out other possible causes before they diagnose a somatoform disorder.”

According to Justina’s parents, Boston Children’s Hospital hadn’t done any medical testing on Justina when they re-diagnosed her with this new mental disease, obviating not only Dr. Korson’s diagnosis, but his treatment as well.

So they came up with another treatment, one that would get the girl over that silly notion of mitochondrial disease as per Dr. Korson of Tufts.

Justina’s parents, however, chose Dr. Korson’s treatment over that of Boston Children’s, since Dr. Korson has been her and her sister’s physician (as it is hereditary, her sister suffers from the same disease) for years.

Naturally, like the ever-loving physicians they are, the medical team at Boston Children’s Hospital took Justina against her will, changed her medication, and had her parents removed from the premises.

I’m not joking.

It’s been a year that Justina has had to suffer under the “torturous” treatments of Boston Children’s, and Lou and Linda Pelletier fear that their daughter may not make it out of there alive.

Finally, after a long and laborious court battle lasting many, many months, a judge decided that the girl should be taken out of the Boston facility and moved to different one so that the parents can,

“. . . demonstrate their fitness to regain custody of their daughter and eventually bring her home.”

I’m still not joking.

Lou and Linda Pelletier’s criminal trial for child abuse is set for . . . wait . . . oh, no. There is no trial. In fact, even though the Pelletier’s little girl has been forcibly taken from them form The State, they have not been charged with any crime.

Let me say that again. Two American-born parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier, legal law abiding citizens of the United States of America, have had their child taken from them without being charged with a single crime.

What if it were said this way,

A judge has decided that John Q. Citizen is to be taken into custody until he can, “demonstrate his fitness to regain custody of his person and eventually go to his home.”

Orwell was a prophet!

I wonder how many nights that judge sat up with Justina when she was a baby, bathing her little forehead with a cool rag when she was ill?

How many tears has that judge shed for Justina’s intense pain stemming from her terrible condition?

If a government body swooped down and ‘took’ that judges child and decided this or that medication is better than the one he and his doctor had decided on, do you think that judge would gladly give his own child over to The State as he did with the Pelletier’s?

Hitler, too, thought that The State should have control of children over the parents.

Why, I wonder, does that judge think the Pelletier’s parenting is bad enough to necessitate The State taking custody of Justina, but their parenting of their other daughter – who has the same disease under the same care by the same physician as Justina – is just fine and dandy?

The State decided in the 19th century that certain people should be chained around the neck, enslaved, and forced to work cotton plantations because they were black.

The State decided in the 20th century that American citizens should be rounded up and put into concentration camps because they were Japanese.

And now, here in the Brave New World of the 21st century, The State has decided that a little girl should be taken away from loving parents who sacrificed and cared for her all her life, so that The State can care for her as It sees best.

I believe it was Rousseau that said, If even one man is enslaved, no man is free.

It would seem that the judge in the Pelletier case doesn’t think that applies to a child.

Well, at least not to the Pelletier’s child.

About the Author

Joe Keck is a writer of horror, thriller, suspense, and other fiction, some poetry and music, with the occasional op-ed piece on current events, politics, and theology. Although born in Oklahoma, he was taken to Los Angeles when he was an infant, or as his mother described, "the ugliest little thing I've ever seen", and raised there on the West Coast. He considers himself to be far superior to most on the artistic merits of film and literature, seeing the vast majority of such to be well below adequate. He has four novels and many short stories to his credit, and hopes to one day have them published, promising to hold critics like himself in harsh derision. He's currently restoring a Jason 35 sailboat and plans to sail the world, writing horror stories, and marveling at the illustrative works of the Creator and His Divine story-telling imagery. You may Find Joe's Website at

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