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calendar   Wednesday - October 31, 2007

Deputies Seize Baby From Parents

From Wardmama.

Deputies Seize Baby From Parents

By: Anna Jo Bratton
Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb.—A nearly 7-week-old baby is home after sheriff’s deputies seized him from his parents so doctors could perform a mandatory blood test that the boy’s parents object to on religious grounds.

Mary and Josue Anaya of Omaha say their due process rights were violated and they’re considering legal action against the state and county, which decided to “grab the baby and ask questions later,” said their attorney, Jeff Downing of Lincoln.

The Douglas County attorney’s office says it only did what was necessary to protect the baby’s health. The blood test—usually performed within 48 hours of birth—screens for dozens of rare diseases, some of which can cause severe mental retardation or death if left undetected.

“Our job is to uphold the law and provide for the safety of a child that’s at risk,” said Nicole Brundo Goaley, a deputy Douglas County Attorney. “We wanted to make sure the testing was going to get done.”

It’s the first time in Nebraska a child was taken from parents to draw the drops of blood from the baby’s heel for the screening, said Marla Augustine, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services. Nebraska is one of four states—South Dakota, Michigan and Montana are the others—that doesn’t offer a religious exemption for parents who don’t want the test performed.

Health officials say the newborn screening is one of the state’s most cost-effective public health programs. Last year, out of 26,819 babies tested, 537 tested positive for one of the dozens of diseases, and 43 of those results were confirmed, according to the state’s Newborn Screening Program.

The Anayas and some other families say the screening is not only unnecessary for them, it may be dangerous to their children’s physical and spiritual well-being.

The Anayas believe that the Bible instructs against deliberately drawing blood and that ignoring that directive may shorten a person’s life.

Now I don’t necessarily agree with these parent’s stance, but what does that have to do with anything?  They have a conviction about the way they provide for the health of their child.  Is it the state’s right to override that?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/31/2007 at 03:46 PM   
Filed Under: • Health-MedicinePhilosophyReligion •  
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