Is "Religious Belief" an Appropriate Cop-Out to Keep Your Sick Children From Doctors?

Police say a Phoenix couple cited "religious beliefs" as the reason they didn't bring their malnourished 15-month-old baby to a doctor before she died on Wednesday.

Ernest Ingram and Denise Snow-Ingram didn't get into too much detail about their religious beliefs, but those reliefs are the apparent reason that the 15-month-old died at a weight of 8 pounds, 8 ounces -- about a pound more than the average birth weight in the United States.

See also:
-Couple Let Malnourished Baby Die, "Religious Beliefs" Kept Them From Doctors

Officers responded to the couple's home near 7th Avenue and Camelback Road shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, as firefighters were treating 15-month-old baby Miriam Ingram, who wasn't breathing.

The baby was transported to Phoenix Children's Hospital, and pronounced dead before 11 a.m.

There were no signs the baby girl was being treated for what a doctor called "profound malnutrition, and an X-ray revealed numerous fractured ribs and other bones in Miriam's extremities, too.

The Ingrams did take the girl to a doctor once, a few days after she was born, so it looks like they're not that serious about those religious beliefs that keep them from doctors. However, Miriam "had not been seen by a doctor since due to religious beliefs of her parents," according to a probable-cause statement.

According to a CPS report, "The mother stated she has six other children who were born at home delivered by the father. The mother stated she has never obtained birth certificates for the children and has never taken them to the doctor."

Obviously, religion isn't a cop-out for everything, like masturbating in front of children at a public park. But is it a valid excuse for not bringing your obviously ill children to doctors?

Cast your vote below:

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley