Connecticut: Don't Force Teen to Undergo Chemo; Respect Bodily Autonomy!

  • By: Julie M.
  • Target: Connecticut Department of Children and Families, Sen. John Kissel (R), Rep. Peggy Sayers (D)

The state of Connecticut is forcing a 17-year-old teen to undergo invasive chemotherapy against her wishes, and the wishes of her mother. Please sign the petition ask Connecticut to release this teenager to her mother immediately!

17-year-old Cassandra Fortin was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Doctors recommended chemotherapy, but Cassandra decided she did not want to undergo the treatment, and her mother supported her. Shortly afterward, government officials snatched her from her home, strapped her down, and forced her to undergo the treatment.

"Whether I live 17 years or 100 years should not be anyone's choice but mine," Cassandra wrote in an article for The Courant. "How long is a person actually supposed to live, and why? Who determines that? I care about the quality of my life, not just the quantity."

Cassandra is Jackie's only child, and has raised Cassandra as a single mother. Jackie says this is the first time she's been separated from her daughter.

Connecticut needs to respect Cassandra's bodily autonomy and bring this family back together! Please sign the petition to ask CT to release Cassandra to her mother, and to add the right to refuse treatments to its Mature Minor Doctrine, which would allow minors to refuse treatment if they exhibit maturity.

The Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the state can indeed force Cassandra to have the treatment she does not want, because she does not exhibit maturity.

Seventeen states have a "mature minor doctrine" as law -- but not CT. These laws grant minors the ability to consent to medical treatment against the wishes of their parents. Cassandra's case is similar, but involves her seeking legal authority as a minor to refuse treatment. The law in Illinois includes the right to refuse treatment. Connecticut should adopt the Mature Minor Doctrine, including the right to refuse treatment.

"She knows I love her and I'm going to keep fighting for her because this is her decision," Cassandra's mother, Jackie, told NPR. "I know more than anyone, more than DCF, that my daughter is old enough, mature enough to make a decision. If she wasn't, I'd be making that decision."

The state should never interfere with the bodily autonomy of others. Please sign the petition to ask CT to release Cassandra to her mother, and to adopt the Mature Minor Doctrine, with a provision that would allow minors to refuse treatment if they exhibit maturity.

Update #2about a year ago
UPDATE: Cassandra is expected to be released from the hospital April 27 and her cancer is in remission! Thanks to all who signed and stood up for Cassandra's right to her body.
Update #11 years ago
Your signatures have been delivered! All 47,067 signatures have been delivered to Joette Katz, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. Please continue to sign and share to show citizens will not allow this disturbing state overreach. Thank you! - Julie M.
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