Over the past several years we have met with legislators from both sides of the aisle and from both parties trying to find a way to stop children dying from faith-based medical neglect.
The response is that this is too complex of an issue involving parental rights, religious freedom and constitutional protections. The Idaho House members say they are willing to support change to religious exemptions if we can get the Idaho Senate to go along, and the Senate says we need the House first.
Cutting through all the political rhetoric it comes down to this.Should the children of Idaho be suffering and dying because of someone else's belief? True, the "someone else" is the child's parent, so let me rephrase that: Should the children of Idaho be suffering and dying because of their parent's belief?
The answer is "no." It is that simple.
Humanity has solved many complex issues: harnessing electricity, getting a 350-ton jet to fly, going to the moon and many others. Surely the Idaho Legislature can solve this. Here is a clue, STOP.
The Idaho Legislature enacted laws that created this problem. Only they can change the laws to make it stop. Don't stop parents from believing. They have every right to believe anything they want. Just stop them from harming others because of their beliefs.
To simplify this let me pose a question: If history repeats itself, over the next decade, 30-40 more Idaho children will die from treatable illnesses caused by faith-based medical neglect. Imagine that all these children are in a school classroom together and the teacher invites you to speak with them. One of the children asks you "Why do we all have to die because of someone else's beliefs?"
What is your answer?
—Bruce Wingate, Founder, Protect Idaho Kids Foundation
- Harrison Berry
- Advocates placed faux coffins, representing the number of children who have died while Idaho's faith-based exemptions have been in place, on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse, February 21, 2018