Faith Healing Parents, Child Rights, and the law

JL - posted on 02/08/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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There has been a string of criminal cases in America the past couple of years involving parents who follow faith healing practices. The cases have involved children from infant to teen that have died from such things as a viral infection, a urinary tract infections to a diabetic coma. The parents in each of the cases did not seek out medical help for their children because they follow faith healing practices and belong to churches that believe prayer is the best way to heal.

States have been prosecuting the parents charging them with things like involuntary manslaughter and child neglect. Some states where the death of children in faith healing homes are higher and more prevalent have even passed laws making it illegal to not seek medical treatment for a sick child.

Some people have argued that the laws and the prosecutions are an attack on freedom of religion and many state laws cover the expemption of prosection because of religious ideals. However, many State lawmakers and child advocates are arguing that a child's life comes before an adults personal religious choice and many judges are shunning the religious defense claiming that neglecting medical care is no different than other forms of neglect and abuse.

Personally, I think as a parent you should exhaust every means possible in the name of your child's health and wellness. As an adult you have the right to refuse medical care but a child does not get to make that choice therefore they should recieve medical care. I find it sad and it sickness me when you find out that a 23 month old would have lived if she had just been given antibiotics and some tylenol. That a teenager with diabetes woud have lived if she had just been properly diagnosed and put on a diet and given insulin shots.

Here are a some various cases where parents have been charged for their children's death.

http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/stor...
http://www.opb.org/thinkoutloud/shows/wo...
http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerd...\
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=59...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23882698/


SO what do you ladies think.....Do states have the right to prosecute and enforce laws that make it illegal for parents to refuse medical care for children especially those that are obviously sick and do judges have the right to intervene and order medical care.

Or do you think that freedom of religion bypasses the states right to come into a home and protect a childs welfare and health.

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Sarah - posted on 02/09/2010

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Isn't there a joke about that, there's a man sitting on the roof of his house and there's a flood. A lifeboat comes by and says "we'll save you" and the man says "no, my God will save me" then a helicopter flies by and says "we'll save you" and the man says "no, my God will save me". The flood rises and the man dies, when he gets to Heaven he asks God why he didn't save him, and God says "I sent you a lifeboat and a helicopter! What more did you want??"

If there is a God, i'm sure he would want parents to use the modern medicine that we have. Denying your child medical care just because of your religion is just plain crazy if you ask me! :)

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Heather - posted on 02/09/2010

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It should definitely be illegal and the parents should be charged.Some people should not have children! I have delt with many parents who refuse certain meds, treatments, or even vaccines for there children in the name of religion...or more commonly, they think they know more than the Pediatrician because they read an article about something online...frustrating to say the least. I am going to refrain from ranting about homeopathy for children at this time....If your kid is sick, the best people to treat them...are trained medical professionals.

Jocelyn - posted on 02/08/2010

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I think it should be illegal. We have a responsibility to our children; we as parents, are here to keep them alive!!! Pray all you want, but pair it with actual medicine. I personally will try all the natural types of healing first (homeopathy, acupuncture, etc) but I sure as hell will not try and use plants (and only plants) to cure my child's cancer! Whose to say that god isn't answering your prayers by sending you a highly skilled surgeon? Freedom of religion is all fine and dandy, but the health of your child should come first. Put aside your beliefs in order for your child to live. When the child reaches the age of majority, then he can decide for himself what path of "healing" he would like to take.
Those parents definitely deserve to be charged. Denying your child (life saving) treatment is no different than denying them food. I have very strong ut beliefs, so I'm going to use it as an example, so bare with me. I am a very strict vegetarian, but if it came down to starve or eat meat, then I would feed my child meat. I know it's not the same thing, I'm just saying, it would make no difference if it was pork or a blood transfusion. They would both be lifesaving. And that's all that matters.

[deleted account]

I'm a very "religious" person, and I find it hard to comprehend allowing your child to suffer and die when medication could have taken care of the problem.

Personally, I'm not fond of medications. It has nothing to do with my religious beliefs, rather my belief that a healthy lifestyle should be practiced. But even the healthiest person is bound to fall sick to some infection at some point. My daughter is only 21 months old but has never had so much as a runny nose until last month. I credit that to breastmilk and healthy eating. We've rarely given her tylenol or any other medications. But last month she came down with strep throat. As much as I don't like antibiotics, I made sure she took them, twice a day for 10 days.

I do believe that society as a whole relies too much on medication and that medications eventually cause other problems. For example, bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics when they are overused. But medication does have a place. And if it comes to life or death and a parent denies their child life saving medication, then they should be prosecuted.

[deleted account]

A child's welfare should come first - as parents it is our responsibility to protect our children and to do everything in our power to keep them healthy and safe. If you're not doing your job as a parent and your child dies because of it then yes, the state should have every right to prosecute you to the full extent of the law. IMO, it's not different from neglect or abuse. I could not imagine not getting my son the help he needed. As I stated in a similar post - the first time some religion told me that I couldn't get help for my child, it would be the last time I practiced that religion. And I can't imagine God (or any variation that you wish to use) wanting you to sit back and watch your kid die when it could be prevented.

Krista - posted on 02/08/2010

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I absolutely believe that it should be illegal to not seek medical care for your child. If someone's religion dictates that they starve or beat their kids to death, nobody would be questioning that the parents should be prosecuted and the kids taken away from them. This is really no different. Religion should be respected and protected, but I draw the line when innocents are harmed.

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