The Wisconsin State Journal reported this week that the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School has offered to represent Dale or Leilani Neumann of Weston, Wis., who allowed their 11-year-old daughter, Madeline "Kara" Neumann, to die of untreated diabetes in March 2008.The Neumanns failed to provide their obviously dying daughter with medical care, relying on faith and prayers. Kara's death was slow, painful, cruel and completely unnecessary. Had the Neumanns relied on insulin instead of God, Kara would be alive today.
The Neumanns were found guilty of second-degree reckless homicide by separate juries in 2009, and a judge doled out meager sentences. The unrepentent couple insisted publicly at their sentencing that it would have been "disobedience to God" to seek medical attention for their daughter. Before his sentencing, Dale Neumann read from the bible and said, “I am guilty of trusting my Lord’s wisdom completely. . . . Guilty of asking for heavenly intervention. Guilty of following Jesus Christ when the whole world does not understand. Guilty of obeying my God.”
Because of Wisconsin's "faith-healing exemption" law, it is believed the Neumanns have a good chance of overturning their convictions, thus sending a green light to faith-healing parents to deny health care to gravely ill children in the name of religion. The Neumanns, of course, have a right to try their appeal, but they are neither friendless nor without other avenues. There are plenty of Christian legal societies to represent them.
Why then would a public legal training institution consider lending its name and legal expertise to defend the right of parents to sacrifice children through medical neglect in the name in religion? The UW Law School's offer sends an unfortunate and cavalier political message at a time when attempt at true repeal of Wisconsin's faith-exemption law is stalled. Rather than offering legal representation to parents who place their belief in dogma over the lives of their own children, the UW Law School ought to be deploying law students to the State Capitol to lobby for overturn of Wisconsin's faith-healing exemption!
Please take a moment to demand justice for Madeline Kara Neumann. Any reasonable person knows that prayer is no substitute for medical care and faith is no excuse for medical negligence and reckless endangerment.
For maximum effectiveness, keep messages brief, civil and write as an individual and not as someone responding to this Action Alert. A short e-mail objecting to any action by the UW Law School which signals support for exemptions for negligent faith-healing parents (and signed with your name and address) is effective and sufficient.
Dean of the Law School
UW-Madison Chancellor Carolyn"Biddy" Martin
(Remember to keep letters to the editor under 150 words and include your name, address and phone number).
Wisconsin State Journal
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Letter to the Editor
P.O. Box 371
Milwaukee WI 53201
Read more about legal faith-health exemption debate