Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Parents who allowed child to die for religious reasons plead guilty

A number of years ago, I posted a number of comments on the possibility of imposing civil liability on parents whose refusal to provide medical treatment to a child for religious reasons causes the child to suffer an injury (or death).  See here, here and here, for example.

I had not seen the issue in the news for a long time, but today I saw an item in the news that caught my eye:  As reported in the Daily Beast, "[t]wo members of an Oregon church that believes in faith healing pleaded guilty to negligent homicide this week in the death of their newborn daughter, who spent hours struggling to breath without ever receiving medical treatment."  You can read the full story here.

This is, of course, a criminal law matter; but it does raise the question I have asked before.  If the parents can be criminally liable for this conduct, should we recognize a civil cause of action against them for wrongful death also? 

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