Religion-related Child Abuse and Neglect: A Selected Bibliography

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Conflicts Between Religious or Spiritual Beliefs and Pediatric Care: Informed Refusal, Exemptions, and Public Funding.” Pediatrics. Published online, October, 2013.

Asser, Seth and Rita Swan. “Child fatalities from religion motivated medical neglect.” Pediatrics101 (April 1998): 625-9. Dr. Asser can be reached at

Barrett, Stephen. The New Health Robbers. Philadelphia: George Stickney, 1981.

Basu, Rekha. “Whatever your religion, children deserve medical care.” Des Moines Register, February 17, 2006: 9A.

Battin, Margaret. Ethics in the Sanctuary: Examining the Practices of Organized Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.

Bergman, Jerry. Blood Transfusions: a History and Evaluation of the Religious, Biblical, and Medical Objections. Clayton CA: Witness Inc., 1994.

Bergman, Jerry. Jehovah’s Witnesses: a Comprehensive and Selectively Annotated Bibliography. Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Bottoms, Bette et al. “In the name of God: a profile of religion-related child abuse.” Journal of Social Issues 51 (1995): 85-111.

Brenneman, Richard. Deadly Blessings: Faith Healing on Trial. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1990.

Cass, Ramona. “We let our son die.” Journal of Christian Nursing spring 1987: 4-8.

Coalition to Repeal Exemptions to Child Abuse Laws. “Death by Religious Exemption.”
Boston: Mass. Comm. for Children and Youth, 1991.

Jerry Coyne, Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. Viking, 2015.

Damore, Leo. The Crime of Dorothy Sheridan. New York: Dell, 1992.

Dwyer, James. “Spiritual treatment exemptions to child medical neglect laws: what we outsiders should think.” Notre Dame Law Review 76 (2000): 147-77.

Fraser, Caroline. God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church. New York: Holt Metropolitan Books, 1999.
Publisher’s Weekly review: “Freelance writer Fraser spent her childhood practicing the teachings of Christian Science. She was told that she was ‘God’s Perfect Child’ and that any errors she made, including being carsick every Sunday as she and her family traveled to her grandparents’ house, were due to her ‘Mortal Mind.'” read more…

Fraser, Caroline. “Suffering children and the Christian Science church.” Atlantic Monthly, April 1995: 105-20.

Gifford, Bill. “A matter of faith.” Philadelphia Magazine September 1997: 96-101, 154-6.

Greenhouse, Lucia. fathermothergod: My Journey out of Christian Science. New York: Crown Publishers, 2011.

Hamilton, Marci. God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Heimlich, Janet. Breaking their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment. Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, 2011.

Joyce, Kathryn. Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. Boston: Beacon Press, 2009.

Joyce, Kathryn. The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption. New York: Public Affairs, 2013.

Kaunitz, Andrew, Craig Spence et al. “Perinatal and maternal mortality in a religious group avoiding obstetrical care.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 150 (Dec. 1,1984): 826-31.

Kohn, Alfie. “Mind over matter.” New England Monthly March 1988: 58-63, 96.

Kramer, Linda. The Religion that Kills: Christian Science, Abuse, Neglect, and Mind Control. Lafayette LA: Huntington House, 1999.

Kramer, Linda. Perfect Peril: Christian Science and Mind Control. E-book, 2010.

Larabee, Mark. “Church controls all, ex-follower says.” The Oregonian (April 26, 1998): 1.

Larabee, Mark. “The faith healers.” The Oregonian (November 29, 1998): 1. Several related articles by Larabee appear in the Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 1998 issues of The Oregonian.

Larabee, Mark and Peter Sleeth. “Faith healing raises questions of law’s duty—belief or life?” The Oregonian ( June 7, 1998): 1.

Margolick, David. “Death and faith, law and Christian Science.” The New York Times (August 6, 1990): sec. 1:1.

Massachusetts Committee for Children and Youth. “Jeopardizing Children’s Lives: a Policy Report on the Need for the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services to Require Repeal of Religious Exemptions to Medical Care for Children.” Boston: Mass. Comm., 1994.

Massachusetts Committee for Children and Youth. “Death by Religious Exemption: an Advocacy Report on the Need to Repeal Religious Exemptions to Necessary Medical Care for Children.” Boston: Mass. Comm., 1992.

Massie, Ann. “The religion clauses and parental health care decisionmaking for children:
sugges­tions for a new approach.” Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 21 (1994): 725-775.

McLaughlin, Margaret. “This too is child abuse: medical treatment denied for religious reasons.” The Counseling Interviewer fall 1990: 19-20.

Medina, Carol-Ann. Pretend You Don’t See the Elephant: the Family Secrets and Silence of Christian Science. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2005.

Murdock, Rosamond. Suffer the Children. Santa Fe: Health Press, 1992.

Offit, Paul. Autism’s False Prophets. New York NY: Columbia University Press, 2008.

Offit, Paul. Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. New York NY: Basic Books, 2011.
CHILD Newsletter review: “Paul Offit does not equivocate. The title of his book says it all:” read more…
Offit, Paul. Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine. New York NY: Basic Books, 2015.
Publishers Weekly review: “Where does one draw the line between the needs of the immortal spirit and the health of the mortal flesh? A pediatrician and infectious disease specialist…” read more…

Parker, Larry. We Let Our Son Die. Irvine CA: Harvest House, 1980.

Peters, Shawn Francis. When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law. NY: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Randi, James. The Faith Healers. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1987.

Rogers, Alan. The Child Cases. Amherst & Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2014.

Scheeres, Julia.  Jesus Land: a Memoir. New York: Counterpoint, 2005.

Schoepflin, Rennie. Christian Science on Trial: Religious Healing in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2003.

Shepard, Suzanne. “Suffer the little children.” Redbook, October 1994: 68-72.

Simmons, Thomas. The Unseen Shore: Memories of a Christian Science Childhood. Boston: Beacon, 1991.

Simpson, William. “Comparative longevity in a college cohort of Christian Scientists.” Journal of the American Medical Association (hereafter cited as JAMA) 262 (September 22-29, 1989): 1657-8.

Simpson, William. “Comparative mortality of two college groups, 1945-83.” Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report 40 (August 23, 1991): 579-82.

Skolnick, Andrew. “Christian Scientists claim healing efficacy equal if not superior to that of medicine.” JAMA 264 (September 19, 1990): 1379-81.

Skolnick, Andrew. “Faith healers: how charismatic ‘healers’ promise miracles while picking the public’s pocket.” Social Issues and Healthcare Review spring 1988: 46-52.

Skolnick, Andrew. “Religious exemptions to child neglect laws still being passed despite convictions of parents.” JAMA 264 (September 12, 1990): 1226, 1229, 1233.

Stauth, Cameron. In the Name of God. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013.
The Oregonian review: “Many Oregonians still vividly remember the 2010 news photo of a baby girl with a huge, inflamed growth on her face that completely covered her left eye.” read more…

Swan, Rita. “Children, medicine, religion, and the law. Advances in Pediatrics 44 (1997):

Swan, Rita. “Christian Science, faith healing, and the law.” Free Inquiry spring 1984: 4-9.

Swan, Rita. “Discrimination de jure: religious exemptions for medical neglect.” The APSAC Advisor 7 (winter 1994): 35-8.

Swan, Rita. “Faith healing, Christian Science, and the medical care of children.” New
England Journal of Medicine
309 (29 December 1983): 1639-41.

Swan, Rita. “First Amendment does not give the right to injure children.” The Los Angeles
(July 14, 1990): F16.

Swan, Rita. “Fragile life: religious beliefs that kill children.” Kentucky
winter 1989: 8-12.

Swan, Rita. The Last Strawberry. Dublin: Hag’s Head Press, 2010.

Swan, Rita. “The law should protect all children.” Journal of Christian Nursing spring
1987: 40.

Swan, Rita. “Matthew, you cannot be sick.” Dublin Review 37 (winter 2009-10): 43-69.

Swan, Rita. “Medical neglect related to religion and culture.” Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence edited by Nicky Ali Jackson. New York: Routledge, 2007: 475-83.

Swan, Rita. “On statutes depriving a class of children of medical care: can this discrimination be litigated?” Quinnipiac Health Law Journal 2 (1998): 73-95.

Swan, Rita. “Religion and child neglect.” Child Abuse and Neglect: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Evidence edited by Carole Jenny. St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011.

Swan, Rita. “Religious attitudes toward corporal punishment.Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence edited by Nicky Ali Jackson. New York: Routledge, 2007: 205-8.

Ulriksen, Michele. Reform at Victory: a Survivor’s Story. Portland, Oregon: Pizan Media, 2008.

Welsome, Eileen. “Born to believe.” Westword (October 12-18, 2000): 20-27.

Whitehurst, Teresa. How Would Jesus Raise a Child? Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003.

Wright, Rosalind. “A matter of life and death.” Good Housekeeping, March 1990: 86, 88, 93.

Young, Beth. “Defending child medical neglect: Christian Science persuasive rhetoric.” Rhetoric Review 20 (October 2001): 268-92.

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