It took Justina Pelletier’s father violating a gag order, media outrage, and a prayer vigil staged by Rev. Patrick Mahony, but the Boston hospital that, in effect, held Justine prisoner has been ordered to let her go. She will be returning soon to her home state of Connecticut, but her parents still do not have custody of the 15-year-old teen returned to them.
This is the latest development in the story that is a parent’s worst nightmare, and Lou and Linda Pelletier have been living it for the past year. Two different hospitals diagnosed their daughter differently, and when one hospital accused the other of medical abuse, they got authorities involved. And then DCF, the Department of Children and Families, took her away from her parents’ custody and would not let her go, simply because they rejected a diagnosis in favor of a previous one.
Justine had been being treated at Tufts Medical Center in Connecticut for several years for a rare condition known as mitochondrial disease. But last February, she suffered complications from the flu. When the Pelletier’s took her to the doctor, the recommendation was to take her to Boston Children’s Hospital to see a specialist.
The problem was that the Boston hospital diagnosed Justine with somatoform disorder, and demanded that her treatments for mitochondrial disease cease. When the parents objected, charges of “medical child abuse” were filed against them, and custody of their child was awarded to the State of Massachusetts, who then hospitalized her at Boston Children’s Hospital in the psychiatric ward for the past year.
The hospital was not nearby, and Justine’s grades plummeted. They would only let her see her parents one hour per week, and her education suffered, soon putting her two years behind her classmates. She was treated as though her symptoms were all in her head, while her medical symptoms remained untreated.
Linda Pelletier began to fear for her daughter’s very life as her condition deteriorated before her eyes, and she was powerless to stop it. They had been issued a gag order and were forbidden to talk about their own child’s case.
But last month, Lou Pelletier decided to defy that gag order, grasping at straws to save her life. He appeared on Meghan Kelly’s Fox show The Kelly Files to tell his daughter’s story. And the media and the public responded with cries of “let her go!” The Blaze’s Glenn Beck got on board, and Reverend Patrick Mahoney and several prolife groups followed suit. Facebook newsfeeds were filled with the story, with the collective voice of the people crying out, “let her go.”
A weekend rally found prayer vigils and rallies in support of bringing Justina home. Keith Mason of Personhood USA joined Reverend Patrick Mahoney and parents and citizens demanding that Boston Hospital let her go. An anonymous billionaire heard Justina’s family’s plea on Glenn Beck’s show and has stepped up pledging funds to see her freed.
Now the family is a step closer to being reunited. After pressure from the public, a ruling has come forth releasing Justine back to Tufts Medical Center in her home state of Connecticut. Her parents still do not have custody of her, but Reverend Mahoney believes that is just a matter of time, since the entire basis of the state’s case to remove custody has fallen apart. She will again be getting treatments for her mitochondrial disease, and hopefully she will soon be released to her parents’ custody.
Recently others have expressed fear over taking their children to the doctor because the medical establishment and the state have so much power. It can be scary. If a doctor disagrees with a parent’s decision, what it to stop them from this state-sanctioned kidnapping? State lawmakers in Massachusetts and Alabama are considering bills that secure the right for parents to make health care decisions for their children.
Right now, it seems clear that Justina Pellitier would have languished in the Boston facility for who knows how long, but for the choruses of “Let her go” echoed by parents and freedom-loving patriots alike. As basic human rights are being swept away, it is time for the people to stand up and push back against bullies and tyranny all around us. “Let her go,” and “Let him go,” are the rallying cry to fight back against injustice and restore liberty once again.