Parents who prayed for sick daughter instead of taking her to hospital charged with murder

The parents' church favours prayer over medical care for sickness

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The Independent US

Parents who prayed for their sick newborn baby instead of taking her to the hospital are charged with murder. The infant died just hours after she was born. 

Sarah and Travis Mitchell of Oregon City, Oregon are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which does not believe in modern medicine. Instead, members rely on prayer and anointing oils for healing.

Ms Mitchell gave birth to twin girls on 5 March in her grandparent’s home with only midwives and family present.

One of the newborns died within hours due to lung formation and breathing problems associated with a premature birth. 

State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson told local news station KATU that she estimates Ms Mitchell gave birth approximate two months early.

It is not immediately clear whether the child would have survived had she been born in a hospital or at least taken to one shortly after birth after the breathing trouble became noticeable.

However, Ms Gunson said the baby would have had a chance had the parents done so.

In 2011, church members Dale and Shannon HIckman, were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison for the death of their newborn infant.

That same year, the state removed faith healing as a legal defence in murder and manslaughter cases.