Children are needlessly dying in Idaho. Help us protect them from faith-based medical neglect. Take our survey and demand that the Idaho legislature repeal religious exemptions in 2019.
Because of religious exemptions in our laws, parents and guardians don’t have to take their sick children to the doctor or hospital, as long as they claim that they chose to “treat” their kids with “prayers through spiritual means alone.” As a result, children die from treatable diseases, become permanently disabled, and suffer emotional trauma.
It’s time to take action! All children in Idaho deserve to be equally protected from dangerous medical neglect. Protect Idaho Kids is conducting a legislative survey so we all can see just where lawmakers stand on this life-and-death issue. We also want to hear from constituents, so we also have an anonymous statewide survey for the general public.
Why are children needlessly dying in Idaho?
In 1971, the Idaho legislature changed child abuse protection laws to allow parents and guardians to legally deny children necessary medical care if those adults claimed they used only prayer as “treatment.” Since so-called “religious exemptions” were enacted, an unusually high number of children in religious groups that don’t believe in modern medicine have died. A letter issued by the Governor’s Task Force on Children at Risk estimated that child fatalities in these church communities are 10 times higher than fatality rates in the rest of the state. Based on a 1988 study that appeared in the medical journal Pediatrics, it’s likely that a majority of those children would have survived had they received medical treatment. To read more FAQs on this issue, please click here.
What can be done about it?
Legislators enacted religious exemptions, and only they can repeal them. For several years, trying to convince the legislature that this is the right thing to do has been the #1 focus of Protect Idaho Kids. In 2017, we submitted two bills, neither of which was granted a hearing. Instead, one legislator presented his own bill which he admitted was one that “neither side could support.” (The bill was voted down on the Senate floor.) In 2018, an election year, the legislature refused to even discuss the issue. Based on past averages, during these two years of inaction alone, as many as 8 children will have died from treatable illnesses.
How can I help?
The answer to saving children’s lives is simple: Demand that the legislature repeal religious exemptions during the 2019 session. And there are two effective ways you can help! First, take our survey. Second, click here[link to email legislators landing page not yet created]to easily and quickly email your legislators and tell them they must support repeal of religious exemptions in the 2019 session.
You can also make a tax-deductible contribution to Protect Idaho Kids. 100% of the money we receive goes directly to fund our programs that are designed to repeal religious exemptions and protect children from deadly medical neglect. Even small donations are appreciated. Click here to contribute.
Want to volunteer? We’d love your help! Just send us an email.
As Idahoans, we cannot allow children to continue to needlessly suffer and die. Now is the time to demand that the legislature extend equal protections to all children in our state. Let’s demand that our lawmakers repeal religious exemptions in 2019 and give all children the chance to live a healthy, happy life.