WA legislature moves to remove Christian Science faith healing exemption

More news on religious exemptions for children’s health care. Remember we told you about a new law in Idaho proposed to address a religious shield law that protects parents when kids are treated only with faith-based healing. Now, the Washingon legistlature is taken steps to fix their laws.

Faith Healing Exemption Gets Scrutiny In Washington Legislature.

Christian Scientists who treat their sick children with faith healing, instead of medical care, have special protection under Washington law. But that could soon change.

Lawmakers are considering whether to repeal the Christian Science exemption. This follows the death of a teenager in North Central Washington.

“In that case the court was able to really avoid whether it had to instruct the jury specifically because it wasn’t actually a Christian Science church that was involved,” explains Tom McBride, the executive secretary of Washington’s Association of Prosecutors.

But McBride says that case points out the inequity of referencing a single religion in the law. He now supports a measure that would remove the Christian Science exemption in Washington statute.

SB 6295 dated February 6, 2014 is: “An act relating to withholding medical treatment in favor of faith- based or metaphysical healing efforts.” It specifically targets removal of the excemption for Christian Science. There should be NO exceptions. As noted in the public testimony summary, “the current statute gives Christian Science different treatment than any other religion under Washington statutes.” So followers of this religion have dispensation to withhold medical care that everyone else is pretty much bound to follow. Without question, wrong. This is very positive news to see religious examptions falling in various states.

Four Senators have sponsored the bill: Mullet, Tom, Kohl-Welles and Darneille. Here is the documentation.

To read more about the problems with this exemption as it stands, check out this book, In the Name of God in the Doubtful News bookstore.


  3 comments for “WA legislature moves to remove Christian Science faith healing exemption

  1. One Eyed Jack
    February 9, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    This law does not go far enough. Why just Christian Science? All faith healing should be removed.

  2. February 9, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    It is. Christian Science was given an exemption. This removes that exemption so it applies across the board.

  3. February 10, 2014 at 12:21 AM

    Unfortunately, the Wash. Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee amended the bill, SB6295, so that it adds a new exemption for the Christian Scientists and then passed the bill that repealed the two existing ones. The new exemption says that the laws prohibiting criminal mistreatment of children and requiring reporting of child abuse and neglect have no “disapproval of Christian Science treatment.” This treatment consists only of prayer and the church prohibits giving it for someone having medical treatment. A child getting Christian Science treatment is not getting medical treatment. Amended SB6295 approves of the child being deprived of medical care regardless of how sick s/he is.
    If you are a Washington resident, please go to http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6295 and click on Comment to lodge a protest.

Comments are closed.