The Washington Post reports that the parents of a newborn are now headed to prison after the baby died because they didn’t believe in medical care. On March 5, 2017, there was a report of a dead newborn in Oregon, and the medical examiner responded to the call. The baby was delivered at home without any medical professional assistance, and died while friends and family prayed over the baby. This is actually a repeated occurrence with members of the Followers of Christ Church, a faith-healing sect with about 1,000 members in the area.
The baby’s mother was holding the dead newborn in a blanket and the father and grandfather were close by. When the people in attendance were questioned, they wouldn’t make eye contact with officials, and it finally came out that the baby was born at 2:55 p.m. and stopped breathing hours later. She died around 7 p.m. The baby weighed 3 lbs, 6 ounces and was born at 32 weeks.
The examiner was then notified that a twin was also born, who had survived, but was at medical risk and needed to go to the hospital, but the father refused to take her. The Mitchells are the fifth set of parents who are members of the religious sect and are facing charges of failing to secure medical attention for their children in the last nine years. Sarah and Travis Mitchell, 25 and 22, pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide and criminal mistreatment.
Just 9 years ago, another baby was delivered prematurely in the same room and died eight hours later. Those parents were convicted of second-degree manslaughter.
Because of the Mitchells' religious convictions, they did not seek any prenatal care. They did not know they were having twins or that the babies were at risk. Sarah Mitchell’s grandfather founded the branch of the church in Oregon, which shuns modern medicine.
Members believe that God always heal.
The Mitchells were sentenced to six years in prison, and their one surviving child is now in foster care.
*Photo credit WP Company LLC d/b/a/ The Washington Post