Republican legislators in Idaho struck down a proposed law aimed at preventing the deaths of children whose parents eschew medical treatment in favor of prayer.
Boise’s KBOI reported on announcement by state House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rich Wills (R), who said that House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) said there is no room on the legislative agenda to debate the bill. Bedke declined to comment, however, as to why the measure is being left off of the legislative slate.
Democratic state Rep. John Gannon proposed the measure after the deaths of several children whose parents attend Followers of Christ churches in the state. Officials estimate that some 144 children are buried in a Followers of Christ cemetery overlooking the Snake River.
Republicans like Rep. Christy Perry fought Gannon’s bill on the grounds that forcing Followers of Christ parents to take their sick and injured children to the doctor would infringe upon their religious liberty.
“This is about religious beliefs, the belief God is in charge of whether they live, and God is in charge of whether they die,” Perry said earlier this year. “This is about where they go for eternity.”
Gannon said that he hoped to end needless deaths in Idaho like 15-year-old Arrian Jade Granden, who contracted food poisoning in June of 2012. The girl bled to death internally after her esophagus ruptured from three days of constant vomiting.
Toddler Preston John Bowers died in March of 2011 at the age of 22 months from untreated bacterial pneumonia. That same month, 14-year-old Rockwell Alexander Sevy also died of treatable pneumonia.
Gannon said in January, ““Medical treatment for physical harm to a child should supersede every other consideration,” even the religious beliefs of the parents.
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