Parents Vs. State

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," June 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.


12-YEAR-OLD CANCER PATIENT: I feel great. I don't need radiation treatment. And nobody asked me what I wanted. It's my body.


ANDREW NAPOLITANO, GUEST HOST: Wow. A 12-year-old cancer patient says she feels well and doesn't want to undergo any more radiation. Her parents say that's OK with them, going against whatever their doctors say she needs.

Because of this, the state of Texas issued an Amber Alert (search), took the little girl away from her parents and put her in child welfare. So, does the state have the right to intervene?

Joining me now to talk about this is syndicated radio talk show host and FOX News contributor and my good buddy Mike Gallagher.


NAPOLITANO: So, Mike, where does the state of Texas get the right to take a child away from the parents?

GALLAGHER: That's what most Texans are saying, Judge, I've got to tell you. This started out to be portrayed at one of those stories where the family was a bunch of religious kooks and they were deliberately trying to harm their child. After talking to the girl's attorney today on my radio show, I'm really coming to the conclusion that is not it at all. Every worst nightmare aspect of a parent's worst dream has come to fruition for this poor family.

Not only do they put the girl into custody, take her away from the parents, Judge, but they also took away her three brothers, three little boys. They were put in a foster home until common sense prevailed. The mother has been arrested and put in jail overnight, all because this family believes that radiation therapy is much too soon for her. She has been through chemo, as you can see from the videotape. And this is what the family wants. The girl doesn't want any more radiation. The parents don't want any more radiation. The doctors say, "Oh, we're the ones who know best." And now this family has been put through a living hell. It's positively disgraceful, Judge. And I've got to tell you, people here in the Texas area are furious.

NAPOLITANO: What is the state's argument, A, for taking away the other three children, who I gather are not even ill, and, B, for taking away a girl who the doctors say needs the radiation?

GALLAGHER: That the mother and father are not fit parents, that they're withholding of sound medical treatment for Katie demonstrates that all of the children, including the three brothers, are in harm's way.

Now, listen, that was a detour, because those boys were immediately returned after a couple of ill-fated days in a foster home. So, they realized that they were full of baloney on that one. But, after talking to the attorney Friday, the media made a big deal about the mother and father wanting to only be able to the be the ones to give her a blood transfusion. And the press falsely reported the mother did not even match the blood type of the girl. That's not true. They have an exact match. But the girl is not in need of a transfusion. It's not about a blood transfusion.

NAPOLITANO: All right. Well, what will the next step be? Is there going to be a trial at which the state will have to prove its case and the parents can show that this is a normal parent-child relationship, making a normal medical decision that the child happens to agree with?

GALLAGHER: Yes. That's the bitterest pill of all to swallow. The lawyer told me Friday that they have to prove to the state that they are fit parents in order get Katie back. In the meantime, she is laying in a cancer ward somewhere, a ward of the state, as you said a minute ago.

They're holding all kinds of hearings. And the tide is turning because, again, this story was initially portrayed as sort of a couple of religious zealots who were trying to kill their daughter practically. Now that more facts are coming out, it's believed that common sense is going to start to prevail and maybe Katie will be returned to her mom and dad and this can be a loving family that is still reeling from the diagnosis that just happened this past January. It's awful.

NAPOLITANO: Listen. I know a guy named Gallagher who has got a lot of political sway with the Texas voters.

GALLAGHER: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes.

NAPOLITANO: Any chance that this is going to change?

GALLAGHER: My sway is to say, I know Judge Napolitano, know the judge.

But let me tell you something. More and more people are fed up with this kind of intrusion. Again, this is the worst kind of intrusion, Judge. You have got the doctors saying, we know better than anybody else. You have got the courts. You have got the police. You have got the prosecutors. You have got child protective services.

Oh, I think this is a watershed moment and I think a lot of Texans are going to say, it's time to get legislatively active, so that we can't let this happen to a family again.

NAPOLITANO: Syndicated radio talk show host, FOX News contributor and my buddy Mike Gallagher — thanks very much.

GALLAGHER: Great, Judge, to see you. Take care.

NAPOLITANO: Thank you.

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