US News Prayer is no substitute for medical care, Alaska Supreme Court says

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The Alaska Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court decision that removed an elderly woman from the care of her daughter after the daughter declined to treat the woman’s epilepsy and said she would use prayer to treat her, even in a medical emergency.

The daughter, identified in the decision as “Rachel O.,” argued the prior decision amounted to religious discrimination because she cares for her mother — identified as “Tiffany O.” — “based on the tenets of religion instead of how the state wants her cared for.”

The court disagreed, writing in a unanimous ruling that “by depriving her mother of personal care services and emergency services in favor of prayer, Rachel not only fails to satisfy the essential requirements (of state law), but also puts Tiffany’s health and safety at risk.”

Rachel represented herself as the appellant, and the Alaska Department of Law represented the appellee.

The ruling, published Friday, concludes nearly 13 years of action by the state, which became involved in 2007 when Rachel requested the state appoint a guardian for Tiffany.


Read more here. (ADN, Anchorage Daily News)
 
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