The crime of denying children treatment and vaccinations
In 2011, there was this story of a couple who denied their kids vaccines and were taken to court.
Lucky for them, they escaped prison, ‘for the sake of their children’.
However, they still needed to be vaccinated. Here the public health officers did what was in the best interest of the children and went ahead to vaccinate them against the parent’s wish.
Last week, on 12th September 2013, I saw another article that stunned me. This woman with a 12-year old child was jailed for four years for denying her child treatment for chicken pox.
I wondered why such a severe sentence was handed to the mother of this child. What was going to happen to her child while she was in prison. Her faith says she cannot take her child for treatment, so how will a prison sentence help the situation. If anything it makes a martyr out of her and solidifies the ‘faith’ of those she leaves in the church. In the meantime, her children suffer for lack of a mother.
I know a few relatives and friends of my mother who will not take their children to hospital when they are ill. One of my mother’s very good friend came to our house distraught one day and I thought her child, who had been suffering from measles, had died. Turned out her husband had ‘fallen from God’s favour’ by taking the child to hospital when he realized she might die. The lady was more distressed by her husband’s ‘disobedience to God’ than the fact that the child was dying. She was not a stupid, sick woman. She loved her daughter dearly, but her God even more and she could not imagine herself turning away from her faith. Lucky for all, the child lived and she was accepted back in the church.
I can imagine if she had been hauled to jail. She was much loved by her children who were all very small. What a pity that would have been.
So, what about the children?
Do they continue to suffer that their parent’s faith may grow?
Faith matters are not easy to explain to anyone who does not feel the same way. I believe in God, the trinity, that Jesus is the son of God. That is strange to many, but that does not make it any less real to me.
However, children’s lives are at stake here and their lives have to be put above the parent’s individual faith by the State. The interests of the child is to get treatment/vaccination but continue to enjoy the security and safety of loving parents. They should not be denied that.