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Eye On Boise

Idaho faith-healing exemption hits national airwaves today

Idaho’s faith healing exemption from prosecution for child deaths or medical neglect hit the national airwaves this morning, as NBC’s “Today Show” featured the story of Mariah Walton, a 20-year-old Idaho woman who suffers from lifelong disabilities because her parents didn’t seek medical treatment when she was an infant for a heart problem; they believed in healing by prayer only. Walton tells the show she wants her parents prosecuted.

The report also looks at the “Followers of Christ” group in southwestern Idaho, where children have died from treatable conditions including pneumonia and gastrointestinal disorders, and interviews Senate Health & Welfare Chairman Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, who declined to schedule a hearing on proposed legislation this year to tighten Idaho’s exemption. Heider tells the show he views the issue as a matter of religious freedom, and that he attended one of the Followers of Christ services and found they were wonderful people who quoted from the New Testament. The full report is online here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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