Joe Farkas, the spokesman for the Christian Science Church, misrepresented my bill on child protection in his Wednesday letter to the editor.
Under current Wisconsin law (S.948.03, our child abuse and neglect statutes), a person is not guilty of an offense solely because he or she provides a child with treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone for healing, in lieu of medical or surgical treatment. Also under current law, there is a specific exemption for the Christian Science Church.
My bill simply removes these exemptions. It puts every family, every religion, on an equal basis in terms of medical treatment of children.
It does not, as Farkas wrote, "prevent parents from using prayer when children are not seriously ill or injured."
Read the legislative analysis of my bill and talk to our state prosecutors for a truthful analysis. My bill is supported by the Wisconsin Association of State Prosecutors, the Wisconsin chapters of the National Association of Social Workers and American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin and other organizations.
- Rep. Terese Berceau, 76th Assembly District