A Minnesota family law court is currently dealing with a difficult issue that pits the welfare of a child against the rights of the parents and grandparents. The custody case involves a 22-year-old woman who was adopted by a Minnesota couple when she was 2-year-old with HIV.
The 22-year-old recently gave birth to a baby boy who also tested positive for HIV. The legal battle stems from the fact that the Minnesota couple took their adopted daughter off HIV treatment drugs when she was little for fear that they were making her so sick that they were going to kill her.
Now the grandparents have indicated that they want the baby boy off of the treatments and when the baby’s parents missed a treatment, the county intervened. Following a two-day trial, a judge was to decide whether the country should take custody of the baby, continue to supervise his care or trust the parents to do so.
At the trial, the grandmother testified that she believes the HIV treatment drugs do more harm than good. She said she plans to take legal means to get the baby boy off of the treatments. On the other hand, a doctor testified that if the boy continues to receive the treatments, he should grow up and live and healthy and active life.
This case represents the battle that sometimes exists between the state and parents. When child protection officials believe that parents are putting their children in danger because of the treatment or care they are receiving or not receiving, they can obtain a court order to have the children removed from the parents’ care. Oftentimes, a lengthy custody battle ensues.
Like in any child custody case, the court focuses on the best interests of the child and puts the child’s needs ahead of the parent’s wishes. It will be interesting to see what the court determines to be “the best interests of the child” in this case.
Source: The Star Tribune, “Minnesota boy’s HIV treatment pits family against county,” Richard Meryhew, April 2, 2013