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Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal

Abstract

In the United States, parental rights have been defined by a strong liberal conception of individual rights, giving parents huge leeway in determining how their children are raised. In this paper, I examine one extreme example of parental rights gone wrong: faith based child medical neglect, a phenomenon that occurs when parents turn to faith healing for their children instead of standard medical care, resulting in the child’s death. First, I show how liberal theory has failed to address key questions regarding the limits of both parental and child rights as they apply to faith healing. Then I apply the republican concepts of civic virtue and non-arbitrary intervention to provide a framework that clearly lays out the limitations on both child and parental rights, as well as determining the specific circumstances under which the government may intervene in cases of faith healing.

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