An Oregon couple who refused to take their premature newborn
to a hospital, and instead prayed over him as he died, have
had their manslaughter conviction upheld by the Oregon Supreme
New York Daily News:
In their failed plea to the Oregon Supreme Court, the
Hickmans claimed that the state had the burden to prove the
couple knew their religious beliefs would cause the death of
The state Supreme Court’s decision recounted the
minimal steps the Hickmans took to try to save the baby. If
they had taken David to a hospital, there is a 99 percent
chance he would have survived, a doctor testified at the
“Dale ran into the room where one of his aunts was
holding David and anointed David’s head with olive oil and
began to pray,” the Oct. 8 state Supreme Court
decision read. “He noticed that David was taking short
breaths, was minimally responsive, and was lighter in color,
so he took David into the bedroom where Shannon still lay.
At that point, it was ‘in the back of [DALE’S]
mind’ that David would not survive. He sat in a chair
by the bed, held David in his arms, and prayed.”
The main cause of David’s death was staphylococcus
pneumonia, the coroner said.
During the trial, both parents testified that “they
would not have done anything differently.”
Read the full article here.
The Hill reports on a significant development
regarding gay conversion therapy bans:
The Supreme Court has decided not to consider New Jersey’s
ban on gay conversion therapy.
The high court rejected a case Monday challenging a law Gov.
Chris Christie (R) passed in August 2013 prohibiting
state-licensed counselors from offering therapy services
that try to change a minor’s sexual orientation.
Licensed therapists Tara King and Ronald Newman appealed the
New Jersey Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold the
state ban. They argue New Jersey’s law violates their state
and federal rights to free speech and freedom of religion
under the First Amendment.
On behalf of their minor clients, King and Newman further
argued that New Jersey’s law interferes with clients’
rights to determine their own sexual identity and
parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing of
In the opinion, Judge Freda Wolfson said the New Jersey law
regulates conduct, not speech. There is “no indication in
the record that religion was a motivating factor for passing
the law,” she added.
“From its plain language, the law does not seek to target or
burden religious practices or beliefs,” she wrote. “Rather,
it bars all licensed mental health providers from engaging
in [conversion therapy] with minors, regardless of whether
that provider or the minor seeking [conversion therapy] is
motivated by religion or motivated by any other purpose.”