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Politics & Government

Group Ramps Up Advocacy Against Idaho Faith Healing Exemptions

YouTube screengrab
Protect Idaho Kids
One of the eight videos from Protect Idaho Kids that's being aired in advance of the 2017 Legislature. The group is trying to garner public support for a repeal of religious exemption laws.

A group that wants to repeal laws exempting parents from child abuse prosecution is hard at work this summer. Bruce Wingate is the founder of Protect Idaho Kids, and says parents who deny medical treatment to their children because of their religions should be held to the same standard as all parents.

The nonprofit has produced a series of videos making that case on local TV in Boise. Wingate hopes to get the spots on the air around the state in the next five months.

“Then we will do a bigger push in December to try and get the Legislature to act on this and repeal the law,” says Wingate.

Two of the videos feature religious leaders who aren’t from faith healing groups. Wingate says the TV spots are part of a public awareness campaign to put pressure on lawmakers. He says momentum is building, especially after the story of a young Idaho woman who was denied medical attention by her parents gained national and international attention this spring.

“Over the last several years, the legislature has been able to skirt this issue and shelve it and not bring it to a vote.”

Wingate says long-standing Supreme Court decisions give them the legal standing to ask for the change in the Idaho Legislature.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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