Justina Pelletier, the Connecticut teen who was held in Massachusetts custody over a dispute about her medical diagnosis, talked about her ordeal at a closed meeting on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Some 70 members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) heard Justina speak about being made a ward of the state child-welfare agency after officials gave her a new diagnosis and suspected her parents of medical child abuse. The wheelchair-bound 16-year-old was recently released to her family after political and public outcry.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, who invited Justina to speak to the RSC, is one of the bipartisan sponsors of a bill that would curtail use of foster children in medical and research experiments run by federally funded institutions.
Justina’s family believes she was held for 16 months in part because medical researchers wanted to study the mental disease they had diagnosed her with. Justina is again being treated for a physical disorder that she had been diagnosed with several years ago.
Full details of the case have not been available, due to confidentiality rules. However, earlier this year, a Boston juvenile court judge who heard several days of testimony awarded custody of Justina to the Massachusetts child-welfare agency.
Justina plans to meet Thursday with bipartisan group of lawmakers and hold a press conference, said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, which has been active on the Pelletier family’s behalf.