July 3, 2013

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds reckless homicide conviction of parents who prayed instead of seeking medical treatment.

Dale and Leilani Neumann's daughter Madeline died of diabetes 5 years ago. They were convicted in 2009, sentenced to 180 days in jail, but the sentences have not yet been served.
In the majority opinion, the justices noted the 1987 law that protects faith healing states that a person is not guilty of an offense because he or she provides a child with treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone.

But the justices agreed with the prosecutor that the treatment through prayer provision applies only to charges of criminal child abuse and does not create a blanket protection from criminal prosecution for a parent....
Here's the opinion, written by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. Justice David T. Prosser Jr. dissented:
The Neumanns claim that the reckless homicide statute is too murky to give sufficient notice as to when parental choice of treatment through prayer becomes illegal.  Given the nature of Kara's illness, as well as the imprecision in the statutory language, I agree.  There is a due process problem here.  On the facts before us, the statutes are very difficult to understand and almost impossible to explain.  Indeed, the statutory scheme is so difficult to explain that if a prayer-treating parent were to consult an attorney on how he or she could prayer treat and stay within the bounds of the law, virtually any attorney would be at a loss to reasonably advise the client.  The concerns stated would not have been so pronounced if the Neumanns had been prosecuted under the child neglect statute....

95 comments:

Methadras said...

At some point a parent needs to recognize that prayer may include getting actual medical treatment. When you as a parent don't do that and endanger your child in this way, then you should pay a price. 180 days in prison seems awfully light for getting their child as a direct result of their incompetence as parents with a diabetic child.

Methadras said...

getting = losing. I wish blogger would allow editing for at least a minute or so.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Why the fuck is there a law protecting faith healing in the first place?

edutcher said...

Out in PA, this happens with various of the old sects (Amish, Mennonite, Moravian) every now and again.

Never heard of anyone going to jail for it.

I guess state health care overrules the First Amendment.

Big Mike said...

Your justice Prosser seems able to reason from A to B to C, and to recognize the issues. My impression of your Chief Justice Abrahamson is that she can't get past the notion that a child died because of these stupid Christians so they must be punished for something or another.

MadisonMan said...

I'm inclined to side with the parents here. Government intrusion into family medical decisions is a bad idea.

The Crack Emcee said...

Methadras,

"180 days in prison seems awfully light,..."

It'll get heavier as the depth and breath of the problem is revealed - and, yes, people start to remember the dead person was a person. Their essence always somehow gets lost in the mysticism's fog, resulting in a lighter sentence for the guilty. Anyway, my take:

180 days ain't shit - but it's a start,...

Inga said...

"I guess state health care overrules the First Amendment."
---------------------
Edutcher gets it WRONG again, he's really on a role, but Ed this is your safe place, you are valued.

It had nothing to do with state health care. It had to do with a fundamental religious belief system and parents that put it before the life of their child.

bpm4532 said...

I'm inclined to side with the parents, too. We need stupid people like this to make stupid decisions, if only to inform the rest.

For too long we've coddled the weak and impaired the strong in a failed attempt to "improve" on the process of natural selection for the species and society.

Michael said...

Here, as in the case of abortion, we have a primitive belief in sacrificing a member of the living so that others may go on. I am sure the parents continue to think they did the right thing. They should sit in the slammer for a lot longer than 180 days praying for release all the while.

Marshal said...

Ignoring the legal issues, I have a hard time accepting there are people stupid enough to let their children die over this.

bpm4532 said...

Pretty soon, parents will get jailed for making the wrong choice of accepted medical procedures.

Imagine the following. A child is hospitalized for an illness. The doctors present 3 options for treatment. The parents choose one option, but the child dies. The parents are then sued or charged for not choosing one of the other options.

Inga said...

Yes let's allow Satansts to offer their child on an altar, or how about Sharia honor killing of a wayward daughter, hmmmm, how about cults marrying underage children to 50 year olds?

Yup, let's keep the government out of irresponsible parents' making irresponsible decisions for their children that results in death.

X said...

Yup, let's keep the government out of irresponsible parents' making irresponsible decisions for their children that results in death.

excepting of course welfare parents raising feral children.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Somewhere, Darwin is smiling.

Tibore said...

My normally libertarian (small "l") predisposition has a limit, and this is it. I don't generally like government intrusion, but I see this as more protective than intrusive. The bigger issue in this case isn't religious freedom, it's abusive extremes being reached for under the cover of freedom.

Freedom generally gets limited when harm enters the equation. Just like you're not allowed to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, I'm hard pressed to see why faith healing in the light of evidence based medicine should be allowable. The right to choose a bad path for someone other than yourself ends when that other's life gets endangered, and refusing medical treatment for their child is crossing that exact line.

If someone tries faith healing on themselves, they're being stupid, but the harm goes no farther than that. If they try it on family member, though, then that's a crossed line. I don't have a problem with intervention then. Especially for a child who has no choice outside of parental emancipation to avoid their parents bad decisions.

Big Mike said...

@Inga, the issue had to do with there being two laws, one permitting the parents to use prayer to heal their sick child (I don't say that this is wise, merely point out that -- like many other unwise laws -- it's on the books) and the other saying that one cannot recklessly endanger a child. Under American case law, both laws apply. The question is how a parent using prayer healing would know when he or she has edged into reckless endangerment.

Prosser recognizes the problem. Like you, Abrahamson is a fool. In my opinion the right thing to do is to repeal the 1987 law. But it won't happen.

edutcher said...

Inga said...

I guess state health care overrules the First Amendment.

Edutcher gets it WRONG again, he's really on a role, but Ed this is your safe place, you are valued.


But you are not.

It had nothing to do with state health care. It had to do with a fundamental religious belief system and parents that put it before the life of their child.

It has EVERYTHING to do with the state stepping in to say, "We'll do what's best. It's our child".

This has happened in Amish country on a few occasions. The state/county takes the kid away just long enough to do what treatment is necessary and the kid is returned to the parents, but nobody ever went to jail. Of course, the First Amendment meant something then.

You hear about it every 5-10 years in PA.

PS I take it you're another of Ann's designated spokesgoofs.

She ought to publish the list.

Nathan Alexander said...

When I think about this issue, I keep on coming up with "on the other hand"s that easily counter-balance previous points thought of.

This conviction/appeal/ruling had the potential to set unfortunate precedents ripe for misapplication no matter which way it turned out.

If you rule in favor of the parents, what levels of neglect or abuse can be excuses by claiming faith as a motivation?

If you rule against the parents, what levels of intervention in and destruction of parental rights can be excuses by after-the-fact, hindsight judging?

Between those two extreme possibilities, I guess I tend to think the harm caused by an abusive or neglectful parent has much greater potential to be irreversable than the harm done by an over-reactive govt. More remedies for the latter, too, to prevent future occurrences.

I tend to trust the individual more than govt, but in this case, with all elements balanced against what I consider most likely outcomes, the govt gets slightly more trust.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Actually, when we lived near the Hershey Medical Center, there were regularly Amish Buggies parked outside. The Amish don't buy health insurance, but when a kid gets sick they'll pay through the nose for the best care they can find.

My theory on doctors is "God already gave you a miracle. He allowed you to be born in a country where you'd have access to medical care!"

garage mahal said...

Somewhere, Darwin is smiling.

Darwin:

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."

My guess is Darwin would have administered insulin to this child instead of prayer, a decision that led this child to wither away for weeks and dying a slow but completely preventable death.

Inga said...

Ann Althouse said to edutcher,

"Phrasing things that edutcher doesn't get wrong? If that is indeed even possible, it would be written at an absurdly simple level. That's nothing I'd want to do. I really don't know why you read this blog, but my working theory is you're a guy pretending to be a guy that misunderstands everything.

I also have the intellectual wherewithal to write first grade primers, but that's not what I choose to write."
------------------------
But you are valued ed, yes indeed.

Inga said...

Oops, more evidence of ed's value here, from yesterday.:

"Ann Althouse said.....
(One more bit of evidence that edutcher is an internet character whose shtick is to get everything wrong.)"

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harrogate said...

"They should sit in the slammer for a lot longer than 180 days praying for release all the while."

That's pretty pitch perfect.

And, edutcher:

c'mon, you surely don't think this is a first amendment violation do you? surely you are just kidding.

But even if you are serious, it's true, you're valued here. You have a lot to contribute!

El Pollo Raylan said...

Althouse wrote (according to Inga):

Phrasing things that edutcher doesn't get wrong? If that is indeed even possible, it would be written at an absurdly simple level. That's nothing I'd want to do. I really don't know why you read this blog, but my working theory is you're a guy pretending to be a guy that misunderstands everything.

I also have the intellectual wherewithal to write first grade primers, but that's not what I choose to write.


Althouse, that's harsh; you should hear yourself as Althouseman: Althouseman talks down to her class #4

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I wouldnt have a problem with the prayer exception except I would add a condition that the parents must have never used medical care in the past or future. If they get care for themselves then they should be charged with murder.

It seems everytime one of these cases of a child dying, the parents have gotten medical care for themselves. The last one I remember the father went to the dentist because he had a toothache.

edutcher said...

Inga said...

(hides behind Althouse)

She Devil hasn't got a rebuttal.

Surprise!

harrogate said...

c'mon, you surely don't think this is a first amendment violation do you? surely you are just kidding.

Plenty of lawsuits in PA surrounding the cases I mentioned say otherwise.

PS If you two keep playing with yourselves long enough, you may find out how your brains work.

Michael said...

Inga "Yup, let's keep the government out of irresponsible parents' making irresponsible decisions for their children that results in death"

Except, of course, those decisions to abort after 20 weeks.

pfennig said...

"Why the fuck is there a law protecting faith healing in the first place?"

"mysticism's fog"

"stupid people like this to make stupid decisions"

"primitive belief"

"If someone tries faith healing on themselves, they're being stupid"

Comments like these do not advance the debate.

harrogate said...

pfennig,

You write: "Comments like these do not advance the debate."

One might posit that in this case there really is not rational "debate" to be had. The child is dead due to horrific and willful negligence.

But ok, I will take the bait: what sort of comments are you looking for here?

machine said...

Hahaha...citizen grand juries, stolen elections, 1st amendment right to let children die...

Keep on truckin el duche...someone has to keep Beck/InfoWars/Newsmax in bidness! They don't make money from the rest of us...

Burnt by Inga = ya burnt!

harrogate said...

machine,

While what you say is true, please note that in the case of edutcher, while the hostess and others on here have been mercilessly exposing all the vapidity of his "thoughts," a few of us have pushed back a little here, for fear that edutcher is actually being cyberbullied. It's important that he knows that his contributions are valuable, that he is safe here to keep sharing all his "thoughts."

It's a compassion thing.

machine said...

Oh, he has value alright...

El Pollo Raylan said...

Mr. Ed's Lament

edutcher said...

machine said...

Hahaha...citizen grand juries, stolen elections, 1st amendment right to let children die...

There's a First Amendment right for people top be able to practice their religion as they see fit. Of course, people like the mindless automaton think the only religion is to the State.

As for citizen grand juries, you might want to see what Antonin Scalia said on the subject.

And the "election" thing?

President Asterisk . People are starting to ask questions.

Ya burnt?

PS Be careful, you two.

That's how Michael Douglas says he got throat cancer.

Tibore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Pollo, you really spent time doing that?

Original Mike said...

Good.

You're entitled to practice your religion. You are NOT entitled to kill your daughter, and that's what they did.

ErnieG said...

Someone mentioned Darwin, which prompted the thought that, in populations that practice strict faith healing over many generations, genetically related Type 1 diabetes is probably very rare. This is due either to the miracle of faith healing, or the systematic elimination of the gene from the gene pool.

Tibore said...

Deleting the above, rephrasing:

pfennig said...
Comments like these do not advance the debate."


There is no debate. These are statements making plain what is being obscured in misguided compassion for ignorant practice. Either people are educated to modern standards and recognize the accumulation of knowledge that has been generated for centuries, or they are behind the times and ignorant. The fact that a person has a right to ignorance does not change the fact it is ignorance.

Mark said...

It is a shame that the law cannot sentence these people to never receive medical care themselves.

I have little doubt they will both see Doctors before ending up in the grave.

Just the types who object to other people's medical decisions too. I am sure they are against contraception and abortion.

It is sad that the parents did not die instead.

harrogate said...

Important Asterisk to this discussion:

*Of course, when children die because their parents cannot afford the sort of medical care that is needed for a chronic condition, then that's just the free market at work.

Original Mike said...

If they're surprised to find themselves in jail, wait 'till they find themselves in hell.

edutcher said...

Original Mike said...

Good.

You're entitled to practice your religion. You are NOT entitled to kill your daughter, and that's what they did.


Not quite.

If you asked them, they'd say they were trying to save her.

For good or ill, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

You say give the kid the help, but then you see what happens when the State says it's their kid.

Quelle conundrum.

harrogate said...

Important Asterisk to this discussion:

*Of course, when children die because their parents cannot afford the sort of medical care that is needed for a chronic condition, then that's just the free market at work.


So we bring in an NHS-style system where the kid is allowed to starve in a government hospital if his life is deemed not "useful".

Oh, yeah, sooo much more civilized.

Tibore said...

"ErnieG said...
Someone mentioned Darwin, which prompted the thought that, in populations that practice strict faith healing over many generations, genetically related Type 1 diabetes is probably very rare. This is due either to the miracle of faith healing, or the systematic elimination of the gene from the gene pool."


Well, it'd have to be over a lot of generations, and it'd also have to over time strike people down before they reach reproductive age and pass along their genes. Otherwise, whatever genetic factors are involved in making a Type I diabetic get passed along anyway.

The unfortunate fact is that undesirable and even fatal traits are not necessarily pressured out of existence via evolution. We like to think that it is - hell, I wish that it were - but we've unfortunately been shown otherwise.

ErnieG said...

harrogate said...

Important Asterisk to this discussion:

*Of course, when children die because their parents cannot afford the sort of medical care that is needed for a chronic condition, then that's just the free market at work.


That wouldn't happen if health care is free, like in Great Britain. Instead there is a row going on there about 20,000 avoidable deaths in hospital due to scandalous conditions and level of care.

harrogate said...

ErnieG,

Because IF England is having trouble with bad hospital conditions or with their level of care, then obviously nothing can be done to avoid those same problems, while also making preventative care available to the poor or uninsured?

Original Mike said...

"If you asked them, they'd say they were trying to save her."

I understand that.

Original Mike said...

They only got 180 days, for Christ sake. I'd have given them 10 years.

edutcher said...

For following their conscience - and the Constitution.

I understand your point, and I see your outrage. 40 years ago, when I'd hear of cases like thin on the radio, I was on your side completely.

I just see where the parents were coming from and, low info Lefties aside, given the lengths the state will go to take over kids' lives, I'm seeing a slippery slope.

YMMV

PS Nice to talk to someone who can debate intelligently, for a change.

Original Mike said...

I defer to few in resisting government intrusion in people's lives but there reaches a point, and this is it, that you have to say "you can't do that."

harrogate said...

I mean, it's just interesting to me how radically the response changes on this board, if the story is about a child who died because he or she could not get access to needed, but very expensive preventative health care.

If the parents really, really, really want to take advantage of modern medicine but cannot, then while sad, "them's the breaks."

But if the parents have access to needed medical care but do not take advantage of it, choosing instead to try to pray away the illness, then by God, put them in jail.

Or something.

Original Mike said...

"If the parents really, really, really want to take advantage of modern medicine but cannot..."

Yeah, except that never happens in this country.

harrogate said...

"Yeah, except that never happens in this country."

Never? Really? Are you sure?

Also, I find it interesting when you move into territory such as a needed transplant. Say, bone marrow.

And why just focus on children here? I was reading in Sports Illustrated about the dude who got beaten to a pulp at Dodger Stadium. apparently his insurance will no longer pay for all this heavy duty care that he needs. So his family is sympathetic, has everyone on their side, because they want so much for him to have this care. But it doesn't mean he gets the care, does it?

What if his family had just prayed over him and he died, after the beating he received?

Original Mike said...

As close to "never" as anything gets.

harrogate said...

Original Mike you are just plain wrong if you think that everyone, or all children in the United States had access to preventative health care today.

edutcher said...

So we'll give them "comfort care" instead.

Original Mike said...

I defer to few in resisting government intrusion in people's lives but there reaches a point, and this is it, that you have to say "you can't do that."

I'm hip.

Original Mike said...

Why do you keep throwing around the "preventive" buzzword? Is that what this girl needed? I don't think so.

harrogate said...

Well it's a chronic condition isn't it? You have to stay on top of it and have regular doctor visits. In this way nature does not care about "ability to pay."

But regardless, it seems like if you can throw someone in jail for not providing health care for their child because they chose to pray instead, then it stands to reason you ought to throw parents in jail for failing to the same care for any other reason. Including inability to pay. Anything short of this consistency might very well constitute discrimination against religion.

harrogate said...

Further, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that "oh that would never happen" or "oh, that never happens" are both untrue and, more to point, philosophically irrelevant to the concern I am raising.

Original Mike said...

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that you are hiding behind the nature of the word "never".

"Never" never happens. I concede that.

harrogate said...

Not hiding behind anything. I'm saying that a lot of poor kids, uninsured kids contract chronic illnesses just as much as do children of the insured. And that inability to pay in many cases translates into much shorter time on this earth. If you don't want that to be true because you hate Obama, will that make it less true?

It remains a question, why is it so outrageous as to constitute a crime punishable by time in jail, to opt out of medical care for your child in favor of prayer, when it remains perfectly legal to not provide needed medical care for your child, because you cannot afford it?

Original Mike said...

" I'm saying that a lot of poor kids, uninsured kids contract chronic illnesses just as much as do children of the insured. And that inability to pay in many cases translates into much shorter time on this earth."

Merely your assertion. I don't concede that.

Original Mike said...

And, in any case, that is not a defense of the abortion known as ObamaCare. From the beginning of this debate, I have not opposed increased funding for health care for the poor. ObmaCare is absolutely the wrong way to improve health care for the poor.

harrogate said...

Wait. You don't concede that the chances of survival for a child who contracts, say, leukemia are subject to whether or not their parents are insured? Or for that matter, subject to the quality of the insurance we're talking about?

You don't concede that? Really?

Revenant said...

Why the fuck is there a law protecting faith healing in the first place?

For the same reason other countries have laws protecting honor killings.

Original Mike said...

Really.

See ya.

harrogate said...

And with that, "Original Mike" helpfully illustrates a big part of why we cannot have a productive or even honest conversation about health care in this country.

If you cannot even admit that when it comes to health care, ability to pay affects your chances of survival in the United States, then you cannot cogently address the reality much at all.

But anyway, I'd be interested to hear other, more honest commenters (or anyone for that matter), really tackle the question I have asked. To wit:

"why is it so outrageous as to constitute a crime punishable by time in jail, to opt out of medical care for your child in favor of prayer, when it remains perfectly legal to not provide needed medical care for your child, because you cannot afford it?"

The Crack Emcee said...

harrogate,

"why is it so outrageous as to constitute a crime punishable by time in jail, to opt out of medical care for your child in favor of prayer, when it remains perfectly legal to not provide needed medical care for your child, because you cannot afford it?"

Because, in the modern world, death in the first example - no matter what belief we're referencing - is intentional. We know - not believe - we know it doesn't work. This girl's dead body, along with all the others, is the ultimate evidence the "faith" is worthless and there's no "healing" involved.

There's no excuse.

harrogate said...

Crack,

Are you sure they "knew" prayer would not help their daughter? I mean, come on, help me out. It almost seems as though you are suggesting that everyone, deep down, "knows" that prayer is superfluous when the chips are down.

I am sorry but I do not see how your position does not count as anti-religious discrimination codified into law.

The Crack Emcee said...

harrogate,

Now it's my turn, asking as a poor person:

Where are these American hospitals turning away the seriously ill because of money?

I simply haven't seen it.

harrogate said...

Crack,

I do not know of any Emergency Rooms that as of yet, turn people away due to an inability to pay. Not saying it doesn't happen, but I don't know of any; this I cheerfully concede.

So, allow me to ask you a follow up to that:

Say we do indeed have wide open access to emergency rooms for everyone, regardless of ability to pay. As a "poor person," do you think that availing yourself of emergency room care when needed, means that you and your child have no less chance of surviving serious illnesses such as diabetes or leukemia, than someone with top-flight health insurance coverage?

That would be an interesting case to make. I'd like to see it made.

The Crack Emcee said...

harrogate,

Are you sure they "knew" prayer would not help their daughter?

Yep - it's 2013 in America - if they walk out the front door of their house in the morning, rather than jumping off the roof with "faith" God will catch them, then they know how the world works.

I mean, come on, help me out. It almost seems as though you are suggesting that everyone, deep down, "knows" that prayer is superfluous when the chips are down.

They do - unless they're crazy. It almost seems as though you are suggesting that the religious can't be criminals, insisting reality - including the rest of us - bend to their will, and we kiss their ass (or give them a pass) for the effort. Because "the chips are down." Please. The prisons are filled with criminals insisting they're innocent for their own reasons.

I am sorry but I do not see how your position does not count as anti-religious discrimination codified into law.

Didn't I tell you that little girl would get lost while discussing the fog of mysticism?

harrogate said...

So ok. Two sets of parents commit the same exact action. That is, they do not secure health care for their dying child. But depending on Why they didn't do it, one set is to be condemned and the other is to be.... Shrugged at?

Hmmmm.

The Crack Emcee said...

harrogate,

Allow me to ask you a follow up to that:

Say we do indeed have wide open access to emergency rooms for everyone, regardless of ability to pay. As a "poor person," do you think that availing yourself of emergency room care when needed, means that you and your child have no less chance of surviving serious illnesses such as diabetes or leukemia, than someone with top-flight health insurance coverage?

That would be an interesting case to make. I'd like to see it made.


My answer is "no" and I'm not trying. I'm an adult. Animals die by the side of the highway, are made into dinner by other animals, get their heads stuck in mayo jars and die. We're animals. Some have great nests and all outcomes aren't the same. Welcome to the real world. Stop being envious, or trying to stoke others to be, and build YOUR nest.

Then the issue becomes mute,...

Revenant said...

That is, they do not secure health care for their dying child. But depending on Why they didn't do it, one set is to be condemned and the other is to be.... Shrugged at?

The purpose of laws is to punish bad *behavior*, not bad *outcomes*.

Refusing to provide your child with something he or she needs is bad behavior. Being *unable* to provide your child with something he or she needs is called "reality". We don't live in a fantasyland of unlimited medical care; nobody ever has, or will. We live in a world of limited resources, which means sometimes people go without.

The Crack Emcee said...

harrogate,

So ok. Two sets of parents commit the same exact action. That is, they do not secure health care for their dying child. But depending on Why they didn't do it, one set is to be condemned and the other is to be.... Shrugged at?

Hmmmm.


No, why ("I did it for Jesus/Gaia/whatever") doesn't interest me - "how" does. Starving your kid is what makes you a bastard, not why.

You haven't accepted certain hardcore concepts, like "death" and "tragedy," have you?

Big Mike said...

@harrowgate, you're trying to have the wrong debate. In this case the issue is where is the line that tells parents that they've gone too far with the prayers.

Your argument is not only on point with the Althouse post, but it's specious. In this country we have employer health insurance, Medicaid, and private health insurance. There are plenty of charities. To an excellent first approximation any parents who lack health insurance deliberately chose not to spend the money on health insurance.

There's your debate you SOB.

Big Mike said...

@Revnant, your recent post describes what's wrong with Abrahamson's legal opinion. Like most people on the Left, she figures out right or wrong based on the outcome, not the behavior.

Rusty said...

harrogate said...
Important Asterisk to this discussion:

*Of course, when children die because their parents cannot afford the sort of medical care that is needed for a chronic condition, then that's just the free market at work.

Which is why there are numerous charities that are just for children in need of medical care.

Rusty said...

harrogate said...
ErnieG,

Because IF England is having trouble with bad hospital conditions or with their level of care, then obviously nothing can be done to avoid those same problems, while also making preventative care available to the poor or uninsured?

The solution is to not get the state involved in a citizens healthcare.

harrogate said...

Big Mike,

No. The issue is not how far could they go with prayer. The issue is they didn't get medical care for their daughter. They could have prayed just as much over her (or even more! Maybe they didn't pray enough!!!) and been free and clear in the eyes of the law, had they gotten her medical care, whether it saved her life or not.

harrogate said...

And Rusty, if the solution is to get the government out of citizens' healthcare then clearly, this married couple has been tyrannized for their religious beliefs. They were making a health care choice too!

Big Mike said...

@harrowgate, read my typing. The issue where is the line that tells parents that it's time to stop praying and start heading to the ER or at least schedule a doctor appointment. The only way to reconcile the two laws is if the parents can determine when the one that says they can substitute prayer for medical care expires and the one that says if you don't get medical care then you are recklessly endangering your child.

The area where you and I are in agreement is that it would be good if the insane law that says you can substitute prayer for medicine were utterly repealed.

harrogate said...

Big Mike I respect the argument you are making and I am sorry to nit pick but this is important to me:

I do not think that the ruling had anything to do with prayer one way or the other. Obviously they effectively ignored any law that says you can substitute prayer for medicine. The parents are in jail, not because they prayed instead of going to the doctor. They're in jail because they didn't go to the doctor! The WHY is immaterial.

Which brings me to my other issue: except, not REALLY immaterial. Because if the parents' reason wasnthat they were too poor to go to the doctor, not only would they not be in jail right now, but we wouldn't even know who the fuck they are, in the first place.

SukieTawdry said...

I had a good friend through junior high and high school whose family was Christian Science. In eighth grade, Bobby had a severe ear infection that went on for weeks. I would watch him in the yard after lunch huddled in a corner holding his ear and sobbing in pain. Eventually the infection cleared leaving Bobby deaf in that ear.

And then there was his sister Bonnie who was a class ahead of us. Bonnie was adorable, a cheerleader with pixie looks and a personality that just bubbled over. Everyone who knew Bonnie loved her, in particular her brother.

In her freshman year in college, Bonnie contracted meningitis. It was not treated. She survived, but emerged brain damaged. The following year, she was in a bad automobile accident resulting in numerous broken bones that were not set leaving her deformed. In less than two years, Bonnie went from a bright, beautiful, full-of-life young woman to an approximation of Quasimoto. When I visited her after the accident, I just went home and cried.

When I last had any contact with Bobby, he told me he felt nothing for his parents beyond bitterness and hatred. I'm a firm believer in religious rights, but I don't think parents should be allowed to abuse their children in this manner for the sake of their beliefs.

Rusty said...

harrogate said...
And Rusty, if the solution is to get the government out of citizens' healthcare then clearly, this married couple has been tyrannized for their religious beliefs. They were making a health care choice too!


You seem to be confused.
How do the rights of the child conflate with Obamacare?
Isn't this more of a case of the childs rights vs the religious rights of the parents?

harrogate said...

No Rusty, you're confused. I haven't said a thing about Obamacare.

As for the rights of the child, well, who is the government to tell parents how to raise their children? Isn't this just more Big Brother tyranny here?

Michael K said...

"
7/3/13, 11:28 AM
Blogger Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I wouldnt have a problem with the prayer exception except I would add a condition that the parents must have never used medical care in the past or future. If they get care for themselves then they should be charged with murder. "

Mahatma Gandhi convinced his wife to refuse treatment when she developed appendicitis in 1942. When he became ill, he quickly sought medical attention and had surgery.

Revenant said...

Revnant, your recent post describes what's wrong with Abrahamson's legal opinion. Like most people on the Left, she figures out right or wrong based on the outcome, not the behavior.

I disagree. Refusing to take a sick child to the doctor is most definitely bad behavior.

Rusty said...

harrogate said...
No Rusty, you're confused. I haven't said a thing about Obamacare.

As for the rights of the child, well, who is the government to tell parents how to raise their children? Isn't this just more Big Brother tyranny here?

Does the child have rights?

harrogate said...

Revenant,

So this distinction you're making in this context between "bad behavior" and "reality", while it makes a certain amount of good sense, also has me wondering a couple of things. Primarily, isn't there a way in which we might find ourselves saying that poverty itself is not only a consequence of but even an existential state of "bad behavior"? Indeed this is often the position we find ourselves taking politically, in the US.

To riff off of the prayer warriors let's go to another extreme and think of some seriously godless parents, who are "secular progressives" to boot. Ha! Let's make them adjunct humanities professors at the local college. Maybe English , maybe even Law adjuncts! So this couple has a child who needs her freakin pancreas medicine every month or whatever, and they just can't buy it so she dies.

Why let them off the hook by ascribing this to "reality"--or in Crack's words, "death and tragedy"? Why not say you know what, by refusing to do the work they needed to do in order to get health insurance that would cover their child, these parents engaged in "bad behavior," and violated Rusty's hallowed "rights of the child." Put them in jail! They made bad choices that killed their daughter!

Right? This to me seems the general path towards punishing these praying parents without being anti-religious bigots.

Rusty said...

I thought you making a case for the ACA through the parents inability to pay. My mistake.

How is punishing the parents at this point going to help?
They've already paid the price for their bad decisions.
I think , in this instance, that the state had a duty to preserve the the childs right to life. I think that would trump the parents right to their religious beliefs.

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