11-Year-Old Girl Dies of Untreated Diabetes as Parents Pray for Spiritual Healing

In Wisconsin, another case of alleged religion-based abuse is being investigated after 11-year-old girl Madeline (“Kara”) Neumann died of untreated diabetes as her parents prayed for divine intervention. The last time Kara had reportedly been to a doctor was at age three. Notably, this follows just days after the death of 15-month old Ava Worthington in Oregon in a case that will test one of the new faith healing laws.

The parents, Leilani and Dale Neumann, believe that healing comes from God but insist that they did not know she was that close to death and, according to Dale, started CPR “as soon as the breath of life left” his daughter’s body.

That would appear a bit too late since experts say that Kara must have been sick for at least 30 days.

She died from diabetic ketoacidosis due to a fatal lack of insulin in her body.

The couple has three other children and Dale insisted “We believe the word of God and live according to its precepts.”

Leilani added: “Our lives are in God’s hands and whatever we go through we are just going to trust him. We need healing. We are going through the healing process.”

Other parents have been charged criminally in such cases, but here the parents insist that they would have taken Kara to a doctor if they knew how sick she was. However, there still seems a some question of abuse given the eight years without seeing a doctor and the failure to notice a child dying for 30 days.

The Oregon case will be interesting to watch. 15-month old Ava Worthington died March 2 from from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and infection — a death that could have been easily avoided with antibiotics. In 1999, Oregon eliminated its controversial “spiritual-healing defense” in cases of second-degree manslaughter, first- and second-degree criminal mistreatment and nonpayment of child support. For the full story, click here

For the full story, click here.

52 thoughts on “11-Year-Old Girl Dies of Untreated Diabetes as Parents Pray for Spiritual Healing”

  1. Jay:

    Your points on Harris are well taken but the point is that a blastocyst is not a human being in any meaningful sense. I do take issue with your assertion that the scientific community accepts conception as the beginning of life since the issue is best described as undetermined. I can provide citations but I am aware of no group of scientists postulating this theory unless they are religiously affiliated.

    In fact the Court in Roe took up this very issue saying “Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

  2. Deeply:

    You might be interested to know that the Roe v. Wade trimester rationale has its origins in the thoughts of Greek and Roman philosophers and early Church fathers:

    “Plato (428-347 BC) and Aristotle (384-322 BC) supported abortion in their views on the individual. Both philosophers distinguish between necessary and unnecessary abortion. Aristotle’s concept of “delayed ensoulment” deeply penetrated into the intellectual world. In his teachings on delayed ensoulment, Aristotle distinguished between vegetable, animal and human life. He believed that the human soul entered the body when the foetus was fully formed. He placed the human ensoulment at forty days for males and at eighty days for females. In Roman law, abortion and infanticide were really not distinguished. An infant did not have legal status until the head of the family, the “pater familias”, accepted it. Until accepted, the infant could be destroyed.”

    Even the early Church fathers found abortion permissible in certain circumstances: Thomas Aquinas was deferential on the subject saying that while he opposed abortion — as a form of contraception and a sin against marriage — he had maintained that the sin in abortion was not homicide unless the fetus was ensouled, and thus, a human being. Aquinas had said the fetus is first endowed with a vegetative soul, then an animal soul, and then — when its body is developed — a rational soul, again adopting the Aristotelian framework.

    Pope Innocent III (circa 1161-1216) wrote a letter which ruled on a case of a Carthusian monk who had arranged for his female lover to obtain an abortion. The Pope decided that the monk was not guilty of homicide if the fetus was not “animated.” Early in the 13th century he stated that the soul enters the body of the fetus at the time of “quickening” – when the woman first feels movement of the fetus. After ensoulment, abortion was equated with murder; before that time, it was a less serious sin, because it terminated only potential human life, not human life.

    In Roe v. Wade we can still see this concept of delayed hominization serving as the backdrop for the Court’s granting of broad discretion to the mother to abort in the first two trimesters but a more limited right in the third trimester where hominization is really beyond doubt.

  3. Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread. So naturally here comes a fool.

    This is a serious serious topic and one that has divided our nation, changed electoral politics and changed the Article III judiciary’s very composition. Arguably Roe v Wade empowered the forces of reaction and fueled the rise of the conservative legal establishment.

    For me, Roe v Wade is settled law. Even Justice Roberts admitted as much on his confirmation hearings. It will remain law, and there is very little likelihood the core ruling will be trimmed away or overturned entirely. Or at least so is my read of the current court’s makeup and aggregate philosophy.

    As law, we will all abide by it or move to a jurisdiction where it is not in force…

    In the end, I hope it will prove a false choice: abortion or carrying to term. I think all life deserves a chance, but it need not be with a biological mother who does not welcome it. Other welcoming hearts can be found.

  4. Hi Jay,

    I don’t accept that abortion is an act of violence. I know we will not ever believe the same about that but I’m hoping we both would like to make it so women don’t have to have an abortion in the first place. I’m not accusing you of this so don’t take it that way, but it’s easy for many antiabortion people to condemn women and bomb clinics. It’s much more difficult to look at the real conditions that create abortions and work together to eliminate them. I can’t really say more but I am speaking with a good will towards you.

    Jill

  5. Jill, I’m glad you relpied, but I wish you could appreciate the irony of your words:

    ” Violence against women and children is the most common form of violence in the world.”

    Does violence against women then give women the right to commit violence against their own unborn? Abortion perpetuates rather than prevents violence in this world.

    Intentional abortion is the ultimate child abuse.

  6. (A)”As Sam Harris says if you accord this stage of life human rights you would have to prosecute everyone who scratches their nose for a holocaust since every cell harbors the potential to generate fully developed human beings.”

    Well Mespo, I think most of us can distinguish the difference between the cellular human life growing as a result of fertilization and all other human cells with DNA–and hence, harboring “potential” human beings. There are different types of cells. Sam Harris is wrong first, because such potential for human beings is not a naturally occuring phenomenon and cannot occur without scientific intervention and manipulation.

    Sam Harris is wrong second, because any cell in my body or your body will only be useful for replicating our own DNA, i.e. cloning. One exception and the main point: human (male and female) reproductive cells contain only 1/2 the necessary DNA, but once joined in fertilization, the reproductive cells create a new and different human life. Sam Harris is then, shall we say, overbroad in his conclusion.

    (B)”The fundamental problem is that religion, rather than science, is driving this debate and you will get no credibility without scientific data to back up the claim.”

    Well, I’ve already provided a handy science-based link above. (Do you need to provide lots of scientific data with your comments, or is the requirement limited to me?) When it comes to determining when human life begins, biology and embryology make the answer clear. I guess some people choose to ignore the scientific evidence. But if you want to learn more about soul and spirit, religion will help you with that I guess. You are the one confusing the issues–not me.

    So I’ll pose the question again: Where do you draw the line when it comes to protecting human life and why?

  7. Hello Jay,

    I will try to address your question to the best of my ability. Pregnancy occurs in a unique physical context. As of yet, it is not possible for an embryo to have life and grow into a human being outside of the body of a human female. Therefore it is necessary to honor what women experience when they become pregnant.

    Before I go further I want to agree with mespo when he states that science does not support the view that life begins at conception. That is a belief held by some religions and not by others. Approximately 1/4 of all embryos are spontaneously aborted so I’m not certain how people who believe god demands every pregnancy should be brought to term deal with this fact.

    Pregnancy takes place in a social context where both women and children are devalued. Violence against women and children is the most common form of violence in the world. Nearly a quarter of our teenage girls are victims of sexual assult. Sexuality is not something we claim proudly. Most of us, men and women, are taught that sex is dirty and evil–that our bodies are a source of shame, not joy. (And believe me I include pornograhpy in the perpetuation of especially, but not exclusivly, the hatred of female sexuality.)

    Increasingly, fundamentalist religious believers have insisted on blocking access to accurate information concerning not only the physical nature of sexuality, but its emotional and spiritual component as well. There is within these same groups a blatant insistence on the inferiority of women to men. It is said that women should be obediant to men, that women’s purpose is to bear children for men. This powerful social context of pregnancy should not be ignored. The disdain women are held in drips from every statment such as “convemience abortion” and “selfish bitch”.

    So you have a power inbalance between men and women, a lack of knowledge concerning our own body and a great deal of sexual violence having occurred to children and adult women. If you want to end abortion then you have to end all these things. Religion needs to embrace the human body and human sexuality as a good. Knowlegde of and research into safe and effective birth control is one of the best ways to obviate the need for abortion. Gender eqaulity is another. Stopping the violence against women and children is a must.

    Honoring the fact that it is a woman who will bear a child, that she is the person whose body will be changed, whose life will be risked, who will most intimately face the outcome of pregnancy is the reality before all decision. This is a momentous decision, one that must be made by the person most deeply affected by that decision. Forcing a woman to have a child does not seem like a moral act to me. We do not force the father of a child to give up a kidney (one of the few things that could be done that would approximate a forced pregnancy).

    I truly wish that people who hate abortion would get on board with safe, effective birth control. That they would teach knowledge of the goodness of houman sexuality and that they would work towards ending gender based violence. I would hope everyone could agree to these principles as these are the best way to end the need for abortion.

  8. My “epiphany” came, I think, when the Church changed the rules to allow eating meat on Friday. No one has yet answered my question, made in childhood, about what happened to all those poor end-of-the week carnivores who were consigned to hell under the old rule. Did they get a reprieve, or even an apology?

  9. Mespo727272 wrote:
    I say how about we give both of these concepts a proper burial and start again with a philosophy dedicated to reason and ethics, and then see if we can do better than our ancestors.

    **************

    Excellent idea. Personally, I’ve never seen the benefits in either Communism or Christianity, but that’s just me. Growing up in a religious home, I didn’t have much of a choice but to attend church, but it never made any sense to me. As a young adult, I was finally able to abandon the shackles of hard-line religionist thinking, and have enjoyed the benefits of light and reason ever since.

  10. Hi DW! Sorry I couldn’t stay up later last night. Found myself nodding off a lot earlier than usual right after submitting that last comment, so I thought I should retire early before I wrote something completely idiotic. I just found it rather comical, not to mention a bit strange, that “Niblet” wrote almost five comments in a row, not one of them addressing the topic for discussion.

    I always have to wonder why some folks get VERY uncomfortable, if not outright hostile, when religion is criticized, either directly or indirectly. Personally, I think ANY religion that would allow a child to die because it made the parents feel “guilty” about getting critical medical treatment doesn’t inspire respect, but the opposite.

    Of course, that’s only my opinion, and there are those who will disagree. Some will say I shouldn’t blame the religion or the parents. Well, sorry, but in this case I blame both. Medical treatment would most likely have saved this child’s life, yet the parents wouldn’t seek it. I don’t believe they should hide behind religion to get a pass on what in my view is criminal negligence.

  11. Jay:
    The fundamental problem is that religion, rather than science, is driving this debate and you will get no credibility without scientific data to back up the claim. Granting human rights to a 100 cell blastocyst is a long way off and probably should be. As Sam Harris says if you accord this stage of life human rights you would have to prosecute everyone who scratches their nose for a holocaust since every cell harbors the potential to generate fully developed human beings.

  12. Mespo, It’s been a while since you’ve been to law school so let’s parse your thoughts in light of what we now know.

    “I find it an odd concept since it is hard to tell when any rights accrue. Historically rights to inheritance, primogeniture, and other family based rights started at birth.”

    — Yes, but “quickening” and other common law concepts recognized unique protections to the unborn human life with regard to crimes committed against the mother and her baby, etc. Incidentally, many criminal laws recognize the unborn individual as a victim in some crimes even today. And just because it may be hard to tell when rights accrue does not mean we should scrap them all together.

    “This made sense because an unborn had no ability to control property or anything else.”

    —Newborns don’t control much either. And “infancy” extends through age 18 in most states.

    “What I am seeing advanced is some form of substantive rights being granted to the unborn based on some notion of religious dogma.”

    —Actually, science is becoming more and more the basis of substantive rights being granted to the unborn. (This only reaffirms the pro-life positions of people of faith who believe that the sacred writings already reveal truth before science has advanced enough to confirm it.) Plus, the litigation concerning rights over cloning, frozen embryos, in vitro-fertilizations, surrogate pregancies, and “donor” mothers & fathers all makes science much more relevant to these significant issues than ever before.

    “The concept is fraught with problems, not the least of which is when these rights accrue: conception, viability, partial birth etc.”

    —Human life has a neat beginning at conception: http://oldfordroad.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/human-life-begins-at-fertilization/

    “I also need to know how to separate the rights of the unborn from those of its host parent who may have equal rights in declining to carry the fetus to term.”

    —We’re not talking about a parasite here. We are talking about another individual human being who should have equal rights to life. The all-important “choice” should be made before the pregnancy. But in instances of ectopic preganancies or other situations where the mother’s life (not “health”) is at risk, the final decision should be the mother’s. The argument is akin to self-defense.

    “These are issues that the law is ill-equipped to resolve since the beginning of life is not well defined and thus the legal rights of that “life” must necessarily be likewise amorphous.”

    —Can’t say I concur. The law constantly deals with diffcult issues and concepts that need to be resolved, often with imperfect results. Science will continue to illuminate the life issue, and maybe someday even the unborn will be included with the rest of us who possess certain unalienable rights.

  13. *for those who may have missed my Easter bunny fun pun…

    The “Foo” bird

    ” In ancient times there was a community known as the Goodnu’s. As all communities did in these times the Goodnu’s lived right on the river bank for trading, transportation and sustenance. Water was almighty and worshipped as a God. One day there was a tremendous hurricane far out in the ocean. It’s ferocity blew a large flock of “Foo” birds way off course sending them inland many hundreds of miles and in the vicinity of the Goodnu’s community. The Goodnu people had never seen a “Foo” bird and were quite curious as to it’s sudden and obviously evil presence. The “Foo” bird, as we all know, is a very ugly, evil-looking bird. This caused the Goodnu people to become very uneasy believing they did something wrong to God and that this bird should be avoided. One day a “Foo” bird flew overhead and screeched: “Foo, Foo” and shit on a Goodnu’s head. The man ran screaming into the river believing the Holy powers of the river would cleanse him of this evil turd and its consequences. As soon as the man washed this unholy turd from his ear canal he suddenly keeled over and died. The Goodnu’s were now convinced of the “Foo” bird’s evilness. The next day a woman was outside and heard: “Foo, Foo”. Before she could react the “Foo” bird dropped a bomb landing a syrupy turd across her face. Shocked and panicked she ran into the river furiously washing her face of this sloppy stew. The village watched in horror as this woman also died once cleansed of the runny turd. The very next day a village wiseman heard those famous words: “Foo, Foo”. He like others had witnessed the terrible deaths of two of his villages’ people in the last two days. He too was struck right in the forehead by the “Foo” birds accurately guided turd missile. His first reaction was confusion and he sprinted towards the river. However, he stopped short and thought of his obvious demise should he cleanse the turd wafer from his forehead. He did not cleanse the poo pile from his forehead and lived. So the wiseman went to the other people of the village, gathered them around and stated to them: “There is an obvious lesson here my good people. The moral of this story is: ‘If the Foo shits, wear it.”

  14. Mespo,

    Only 5 million dead from religious disputes? Obviously people’s faiths were not strong enough! I’m sure we can push that figure higher if we believe hard enough!

    And niblet,

    Yes, I will take your bait: I think we ought give Communism a second chance. But this time try it out in a non-authoritarian, non-barbaric society, and see what happens. Probably get something better than the predatory capitalism we have now.

  15. Patty C,

    Lumping you together as polar opposites!

    If you go to the Pit Bulls go to the Supreme Court thread, you will see the original test.

    Then the all-important disclaimer post immediately following.

    I do admit I am cautious around unfamiliar pit bulls. They can be intensely protective and emotional lads and don’t always cotton to over-familiarity on the part of strangers to their “family”.

  16. niblet told us: “Communism has been responsible for over 100 million deaths in less than 100 years. Religion is only responsible for 5 million deaths in over 2,500 years.I am sure you liberal elitests think Communism deserves a second chance.”

    I say how about we give both of these concepts a proper burial and start again with a philosophy dedicated to reason and ethics, and then see if we can do better than our ancestors.

  17. Jay:

    I too am interested in the “rights” of the unborn. I find it an odd concept since it is hard to tell when any rights accrue. Historically rights to inheritance, primogeniture, and other family based rights started at birth. This made sense because an unborn had no ability to control property or anything else. What I am seeing advanced is some form of substantive rights being granted to the unborn based on some notion of religious dogma. The concept is fraught with problems, not the least of which is when these rights accrue: conception, viability, partial birth etc. I also need to know how to separate the rights of the unborn from those of its host parent who may have equal rights in declining to carry the fetus to term. These are issues that the law is ill-equipped to resolve since the beginning of life is not well defined and thus the legal rights of that “life” must necessarily be likewise amorphous.

  18. “Well, just to stir up trouble, I will repost a wondrous thing I wrote last night but posted too late to get all the attention it deserved. I know it will offend both Patty C AND Niblet. That counts for something! Anyway, here goes:…”

    Huh? DW, why are YOU lumping ME in with the Nutball?

    You honestly don’t like American Pit Bull Terriers – as a breed?

  19. @ Jill,

    “I think that children’s rights are one of the next frontiers of social liberation. May it come soon.”

    And what of the rights of the unborn? I do not intend to diminish the tragedy described in this post, but I’m interested in the various lines that people draw when it comes to parental/constitutional rights vs. children’s/human rights. I think we all agree that children should be protected by their parents, but then the exception for unborn children just doesn’t make any sense.

    @ D.W.

    That Mensa crack…LOL. Have you heard about Obama’s new campaign slogan? Vote Barak: It’s easier than thinking!

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