This story doesn’t take place in Maryland, but anyone in any family law court could face the same issues. That is, how far can the state go to protect its own citizens – in other words, how much can the government intrude into a family’s life before the intrusion goes too far?
One family is fighting for child custody of their four-month-old son, a son who has HIV, and whose grandmother testified she would, if it was within her power, take him off drug treatment – as she did when she adopted her HIV-positive infant daughter.
That daughter is now 22-years-old and has a child of her own, the four-month-old. During the pregnancy, as Richard Meryhew reports for the Star Tribune, the pregnant mother apparently refused to be treated for HIV, which would have reduced the risk of HIV transmission from mother to baby. She also refused testing for herself and the baby after it was born.
This ultimately prompted social services to get involved.
The grandmother says that HIV drug treatment made her daughter so sick that she felt her daughter would’ve died had she continued treatment; the family now feels the same about the baby.
The government, on the other hand, believes that ongoing HIV treatment is in the best interest of the baby.
Will the family law judge grant custody of the baby to the parents or to the county? It’s a good question. No one really knows what the health outcome could be for the baby, given the grandmother’s past experience versus doctors’ general assessments that HIV treatment is a good thing. The answer will shed a little light on just how far the government can intrude in this type of situation.