Court rejects motion to compel Rifqa Bary to undergo chemotherapy

Doctors say cancer is undetectable

The Columbus Dispatch/August 3, 2010

Rifqa Bary will not be forced to undergo chemotherapy for uterine cancer.

The Christian convert's parents were trying to compel Rifqa, who will be 18 in a week, to follow her doctor's recommendation: 45 weeks of chemotherapy.

A doctor said Rifqa is disease-free, according to "available imaging techniques," her attorney, Kort Gatterdam, said today in Franklin County Juvenile Court. He assured Magistrate Mary Goodrich that Rifqa will continue to consult her doctors but has chosen against chemotherapy. She has had surgery for her cancer.

"She is mature enough to make the decision's she made," he said.

Goodrich said she cannot order treatment under the law, because Rifqa's health is not in immediate danger.

The other matters to be considered at the hearing were continued until tomorrow. Rifqa's attorneys want the court to make "special findings" so she can pursue an immigration status for juveniles separated from their families.

Gatterdam also took exception to Rifqa's parents' attorney's claim that she went to a faith-healing event in Youngstown and then quit chemotherapy. He said the girl went to a "prayer conference" shortly after her diagnosis and then had "multiple surgeries and chemotherapy." He said the treatments made her very weak and sick.

Rifqa's public conflict with her family began in July 2009, when she ran away to Florida and accused her parents of threatening to kill her for leaving Islam. Her parents have denied wrongdoing, and authorities have not substantiated the accusations.

The case is to conclude next Tuesday on Rifqa's 18th birthday.

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