Justina Pelletier, the teen at the center of a legal battle between the Pelletier family and Boston Children’s Hospital over custody and proper medical treatment, is speaking out publicly about her ordeal.
A judge had previously sentenced the Connecticut teenager, who has been caught in a yearlong custody fight between her parents and Massachusetts child protection officials, to a new foster care program in Massachusetts. The ruling triggered an anguished response from her parents when it was announced by a juvenile court judge and pro-life advocates were also up in arms.
The case is drawing national attention, as Boston Children’s Hospital filed a “medical child abuse” complaint against Justina’s parents last year, leading the state to take custody of her and hospitalize her for almost a year.
The tragic case of Justina Pelletier has been dragging on for 14-months as pro-life groups have complained about how she has been denied education, religious services or clergy visit, and has had abysmal medical care while in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Pelletier has only been allowed one, one hour supervised visit per week with her mom and dad and they have not been permitted to take photographs of their daughter. But, following new legal pressure asserted by Liberty Counsel and intense media scrutiny, DCF permitted the most recent visitation to be unsupervised. Rev. Pat Mahoney, a nationally known pro-life activist, accompanied Lou and Linda Pelletier to visit Justina.
Justina is now speaking out and her words are being heard. Justina told her parents and Rev. Mahoney, “I feel like a prisoner.”
She also asked, “Why can’t I go home with my parents?”
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, the pro-life legal group that has been working with Justina’s parents, commented on the case and Justina’s words.
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“To hear Justina say she feels like a prisoner and wants to return home with her parents is heartbreaking,” Staver said. “DCF has abused its authority and hurt this family. DCF had no right to come between Justina and her parents. The parents love their daughter and were following expert medical advice in treating their daughter. Justina was doing well under the parents care. Now she is confined to a wheelchair. Justin loved going to school, but she has not seen her classmates or received any education in 14-months. This is a tragedy. Justina needs to be freed from her prison.”
Another hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 17, at the Juvenile Court.
“My goal is to get Justina home,” Staver concluded.