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No Hearing for Bill Protecting Children From Faith Healing

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — House leaders ruled out a hearing on a bill meant to curb the number of children who die because their parents choose faith healing and not medical assistance for religious reasons. Judiciary Committee Chairman Rich Wills said Wednesday he’s been told by House Speaker Scott Bedke there’s no room in this Legislature for debate on the measure. Boise Democratic Rep. John Gannon had proposed changes after learning about the deaths of numerous children of members of the Followers of Christ group in southwestern Idaho from treatable conditions, including pneumonia and food poisoning. Many children are buried at a cemetery overlooking the Snake River. Bedke didn’t immediately say why he opted against debating the measure. However, some lawmakers feared an emotionally charged hearing pitting religious freedom against values like child welfare.

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