By Jonathan Safran, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In Wisconsin and other States, parents, as well as children, have a right to pray and to practice religious beliefs of a particular religion. The State and Federal government generally should allow people to pray and pay respect to a particular religion or practice without interference. Yes, we have the United States Constitution which has granted people the freedom of religion; however, when a child’s health, safety, and well being were put at risks, law enforcement authorities and prosecutors have taken action. In Wisconsin, parents were prosecuted for the 2003 death of their 11 year old daughter who died without the benefit of timely medical intervention. Instead of taking their daughter to the hospital, Dale and Leilani Neumann prayed along with ohters. Their daughter, Madeline Neumann, died from complications related to undiagnosed diabetes which is typically a condition that can be managed through medication and / or dietary intake. Madeline died on the floor of the family home. 911 was called only after Madeline stopped breathing. This case garnered national attention because there are thousands of other parents who may take a similar route to the Neumanns in dealing with a life threatening but treatable condition.
An adult can make decisions on his or her own in the name of religion. It is a much different situation when dealing with a child. See Wisconsin Parents to Be Criminally Sentenced in Prayer / Death of Child Case.