Ore. Moves to Disallow Reliance on Faith as Defense in Cases Where People Die for Lack of Medical Treatment

May 23, 2011 - 3:30 PM
Ore. Senate against spiritual defense for murder

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers have given approval to a bill that would drop faith healing as a legal defense in murder or manslaughter cases.

The legislation was drafted largely in response to the deaths of children among members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, who rely on spiritual treatments instead of medical care.

A couple that belongs to the church stands trial this week on criminal mistreatment charges for failing to seek medical care for their infant daughter. Another couple was convicted last year of criminally negligent homicide in the 2008 death of their teenage son.

The Oregon House unanimously approved the bill in March, and the Senate passed it Monday. The bill returns to the House for a vote on Senate changes.