Washington has made prayer “medically necessary health care” for all diseases of helpless children.
In 2003 CAPTA was reauthorized with no change to the religious exemptions although several organizations called upon Congress to remove the exemption, including the United Methodist Church, National Association of Medical Examiners, Justice for Children, and the National Child Abuse Coalition, which consists of about thirty national organizations working to prevent child abuse.
Dan Coats, R-Indiana, and Congressman Bill Goodling, R-Pennsylvania, claimed during floor discussion that parents have a First Amendment right to withhold medical care from children. believes the present law discriminates against a class of children and endangers them.
When Medicare and Medicaid programs were set up in 1965, Congress authorized reimbursements to care facilities accredited by the Christian Science church.
The facilities, called “sanatoria” by the government, are staffed by “nurses” who have no state licensure, medical training, or even first aid training.
In 1983 the Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana Board of Health conducted a study of Faith Assembly members, who shun all medical care including obstetrics.
Pregnant women in Faith Assembly were 86 times more likely to die than other expectant mothers in Indiana. The Netherlands had an outbreak of 2000 measles cases, including three deaths of young people, that began at a Dutch Orthodox Reformed Church school in 1999-2000.
The scope of the religious exemptions pertaining to sick and injured children varies widely.
Some protect only a right to pray or a right to rely exclusively on prayer when the illness is trivial while others confer a legal right for parents to withhold even lifesaving medical care from children.The mortality rate for Faith Assembly infants up to 28 days old was 270% higher. The church has religious beliefs against vaccination.See Andrew Kaunitz, Craig Spence, et al., “Perinatal and maternal mortality in a religious group avoiding obstetrical care,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 150 (Dec. The Oregonian reported that 78 children died between 19 in the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, a church opposed to medical care. Two recent studies indicate that religious and philosophical exemptions to immunizations increase cases of disease. in “Individual and community risks of measles and pertussis associated with personal exemptions to immunization,” JAMA 284 (December 27, 2000):3145-50, studied all reported confirmed measles cases among Colorado children aged 3 to 18 years during 1987-1998 and all reported confirmed and probable pertussis cases among the same population for 1996-98.They do not work under supervision of any state-licensed personnel.All sanatoria nurses and administrators must be members of the Christian Science church.They found that 140 of the children would have had at least a 90% likelihood of survival with medical care.