‘Pro-Life’ Politician Thinks Parents Should Have The Right To Let Kids Die From Faith Healing
Labels are funny things. For example, if you were going to choose a label for a person who believed that parents should have the right to let their sick children die under a regimen of faith healing instead of getting them the medical intervention they need, you probably wouldn’t choose a word like “pro-life”.
And yet, that’s exactly the word Idaho state representative Christy Perry uses to define herself on her website. That’s an interesting contrast to her current stance on narrowing the state’s definition of “faith exemptions” to child neglect laws. After a recent spate of children dying in an Idaho religious community opposed to medical interventions (the Followers of Christ), state legislators proposed opening parents up to prosecution for relying on faith-based healing as the only treatment when a child’s condition could kill or permanently injure them. But Perry’s stance? Parents should absolutely have the right to kill their kids with faith-based healing!
Perry spoke to Al Jazeera America about her position:
“Children do die,” Perry said. “And I’m not trying to sound callous, but [people calling for reform] want to act as if death is an anomaly. But it’s not. It’s a way of life.”
“They are comforted by the fact that they know their child is in heaven,” Perry said. “If I want to let my child be with God, why is that wrong?”
Furthermore, she said, she’s unsure of the motives of those who want to see faith-healing protections removed.
“Is it really because these children are dying more so than other children? Or is this really about an attack on a religion you don’t agree with?”
Here’s a tip for politicians (or anyone else about to say something horrific): prefacing your statement with ‘I’m not trying to sound callous’ isn’t a blank check to make whatever spews out of your mouth next okay. Of course death is part of life. But you know what doesn’t have to be? Death at young age from diabetes, from pneumonia, from other easily treatable diseases. Al Jazeera also spoke to Linda Martin, a former member of the Followers of Christ, who described the suffering of her nephew who was born with spina bifida and deprived of pain medicine and even a wheelchair. And Perry has the gall to suggest that people might be up in arms about this just because they want to be mean to Christians?
Parents should not be allowed to sacrifice their children’s lives for their own personal beliefs. You cannot choose to let your child ‘be with God’ because of her treatable heart condition and expect a Get Out of Jail Free card in response. That is neglect, and more than that, it is straight-up evil.
Perry’s website also states that she “is an ardent supporter of defending each child’s right to life”, but it looks to me as if her support evaporates the second a child is actually born. ‘Pro-life’ is pretty clearly not the right label for her, but neither is the ‘anti-choice‘ label I usually apply to those in opposition to reproductive rights. What do you call someone who thinks that fetuses are people who deserve the right to life, but that seven-year-olds aren’t? There are lots of things that come to mind, most of them not fit to print, but let’s just go with this one: ‘morally bankrupt’.
(Image: Alex Varlakov / Getty)