Idaho Senate leadership to address faith healing

Posted at 11:21 AM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 13:53:33-05

President Pro Tempore Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, tells 6 On Your Side he plans to meet with Senate Republican leadership on Wednesday to address faith healing in the state.

In 1972 Idaho passed a law allowing parents with religious objections to medical treatment to have the the legal right to let their children die without seeking any medical attention. A 6 on Your Side investigationrevealed as many as one or two children a month die in Canyon County due to lack of medical attention.

Hill said he was presented with a list of five recommendations from a task force chosen to study child deaths on Friday. 

Those recommendations include leaving the current law as-is, broadening exemptions to include other types of religious practices or alternative treatments, removing the exemptions in cases where death or serious harm is both likely and likely preventable with medical care, removing the exemptions entirely, or adopting reporting requirements for parents who treat their children through spiritual means or prayer, giving a child protection judge authority to intervene if necessary.

Hill said he will meet with leadership on Wednesday to discuss the recommendations and determine how the legislature should move forward.

"We don't want to ignore it, we need to address it.," Hill said. "What that will lead to, I don't know. It might lead to legislation. It might lead to no changes at all, but we certainly have no intention of just brushing over it. It's an important issue."