Situation: A mother practices a strict vegan lifestyle, and decides to exclusively breast-feed for her child's first year of life. Because important vitamins are lacking from the mothers diet due to her food choices, the infant quickly becomes deficient in these vitamins. At 11 months of age the child dies due to extreme vitamin deficiency, and therefore a compromised immune system to fight infections. At the infants 6 month check-up it was suggested by the pediatrician the mother introduce vitamin supplements to the child's diet, but the mother decided against the recommendation due to religious beliefs on medical intervention, and her personal beliefs on diet. So is the mother legally to blame for her child's death? Technically the baby was not malnourished, she was fed regularly. However, the mother forced her lifestyle upon her infant, whose body clearly couldn't handle the lack of necessary vitamins.
A mother in France is being charged with neglect due to this very situation. And it made me think. Although I fully believe the mother should've made the choice to provide outside vitamin supplements since it was clear her daughter needed them, in this country we honor a parents religious beliefs when it comes to medical interventions. So was she within her rights to follow religious and dietary beliefs? Or did she step out into extreme, and therefore should be charged with neglect.
I personally agree with the neglect charge. I fully support her right to exclusively breast feed and follow her personal beliefs on diets, but when it was recommended she start her daughter on vitamin supplements, and she declined, I feel neglect/child endangerment came into play. And ultimately her baby girl paid the price on something that was very preventable.
Asked by Anonymous at 5:45 PM on Mar. 30, 2011 in Parenting Debate
Answer by scout_mom at 6:03 PM on Mar. 30, 2011
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Answer by ItsMe89 at 5:56 PM on Mar. 30, 2011