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Girl Forcibly Sterilized

September 28, 2005 permalink

Katie Wernecke, now thirteen years old, has cancer, Hodgkins disease. The parents have cooperated in getting her treatment to cure the disease, but have balked at higher levels of treatments that doctors say will increase her chances of survival. The same treatments will leave her sterile, and at age thirteen, she is mature enough to understand for herself what is at stake. Weighing the relative risks of death and sterility is more than just a medical decision, and the family deserves a voice in the choices made for their daughter.

Not in Texas. The state has seized custody of Katie and blocked communication with her parents, preventing the family from getting a second medical opinion. Doctors acting under CPS guardianship have imposed high-dose chemotherapy on her against her will, but she has ripped out her catheters. The family truck was hit by gunfire in a possible hate crime.

This is a literate family -- Katie's father is a PhD, and has conducted his own research into the effectiveness of treatments for his daughter. The family has tried to protect Katie with a blog -- the August 31, 2005 entry contains the sterility prognosis. They have also put up billboards in Texas (below).

Katie Wernecke billboard