State Versus Religion: Arrest Warrants Issued For Mother On The Run With Son Avoiding Chemotherapy

The case of a missing Minnesota mother and her cancer-stricken son has rekindled the debate over parents who reject conventional medical treatments for their sick children because of religious beliefs.

Authorities nationwide searched Wednesday for Colleen Hauser and her 13-year-old son, Daniel, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The family refuses chemotherapy for Daniel. The two disappeared from rural Sleepy Eye, Minn., after a doctor’s appointment and court-ordered X-ray Monday showed his cancer had grown. They did not show up for a court hearing Tuesday.

“We’ve got to find this child, so we can get him into medical treatment,” said James Olson, Brown County attorney.

Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg ruled the mother in contempt of court and issued a warrant for her arrest. He ordered that Daniel be turned over to Brown County Family Services and gave the agency the authority to consent to “appropriate and necessary” treatment…

The Hausers are Catholic, but also believe in the natural healing philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in methods advocated by some American Indians. Colleen Hauser testified in court that she believed chemotherapy is a form of poison and that she had been trying to “starve” Daniel’s cancer with supplements, an organic and sugar-free diet and high-alkaline water.

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