Teen’s Plan to Die Has Disability Groups Seeking Intervention

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(WHAS 11) — Disability rights groups are attempting to intervene in an Appleton teenager’s decision to cease medical treatment and die of the incurable disease that has racked her body and left her in constant pain.

Carrie Ann Lucas, executive director of the Colorado-based Disabled Parents Rights, said her organization is one of several that have asked for child-protection authorities to investigate the case of 14-year-old Jerika Bolen, whose decision to enter hospice care at the end of summer gained national attention.

“A child doesn’t have the capacity to make those types of decisions, and under the eyes of the law, this is a child,” Lucas said Tuesday.

Jerika suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2. She and her mother, Jen Bolen, said earlier this summer that Jerika would go without her ventilator while under hospice care in early September, essentially scheduling her own death. Her story drew an outpouring of support when her family, friends and her care team held a prom, dubbed Jerika’s Last Dance, in late July. CONTINUE