Faith healing bill still a possibility for 2017 session

A bill could be introduced this session.

BOISE - Faith healing, the practice of using prayer instead medicine for medical needs, has sparked controversy in Idaho over the last few years.

Idaho has laws that protects parents who choose faith healing from being charged with a crime if their child dies in a case where medical attention could have saved their life.

This is something that is talked about around the state when the Legislature convenes.

Democrat Rep. John Gannon has drafted a bill that aims at changing the current statute.

Currently sub-section 4 of section 18-1501 of the Idaho Code reads “The practice of a parent or guardian who chooses for his child treatment by prayer or spiritual means alone shall not for that reason alone be construed to have violated the duty of care to such child.”

Gannon's bill would amend the sub-section to add “unless such practice creates an imminent risk or permanent physical harm or death.”

Gannon hopes his bill will be picked up by a committee soon, giving it a chance to be debated on the House floor.

"I think there has been a positive reception from some....and some would rather, some avoidance from others, not really negative, oh boy how are we going to solve this? And it’s not an easy one to solve," said Gannon.

Meanwhile in the Senate, there has been rumblings of a possible faith healing bill, but nothing has surfaced yet.

One Senate committee that has been a target of the bill in the past is the Health and Welfare Committee.

Sen. Lee Heider, Chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee, says he hasn't seen or heard anything yet about a possible faith healing bill.

"As far as I know there has been no bill printed, nor has anyone approached me on the issue of carrying a bill in committee. So from my knowledge there is no bill and it’s probably not an issue that will come up this session," said Heider.

Time is winding down in the legislative session for a bill to be introduced, so if something is going to happen, it will have to happen soon.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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