Lansing Couple Caused Infant Daughter’s Death by Withholding Medical Treatment – Because“God Makes No Mistakes”

Health, News, Religion

A Lansing Michigan couple has been charged with the involuntary manslaughter of their newborn daughter after having been warned of her health problems but refused to seek treatment for the baby due to religious reasons.

On February 6th, 30-year-old Rachel Joy Piland, and her husband, 36-year-old Joshua Barry Piland, welcomed a daughter- Abigail Piland. Abigail, who by all intents and purposes was born seemingly healthy, but upon a visit by the couple’s midwife, was appeared to be jaundiced. When the midwife informed the parents she was shocked to hear that the couple would not consent to medical interventions as they believed “God … makes no mistakes”.

Subsequently, Abigail eventually succumbed to her very treatable illness and died a slow and painful death all because of her parent’s ethical egoism.

As reported by Patheos:

Abigail appeared jaundiced, and the midwife advised [mother] Rachel Piland to take the child to a pediatrician or an emergency room, [Police Detective Peter] Scaccia said. “She told Piland the baby could suffer brain damage or die if not properly cared for.

“Rachel declined to seek any medical treatment for Abigail, stating God makes no mistakes,” Scaccia said. “She indicated to the midwife that the baby was fine.”

Days later, Abigail was dead. A medical examiner later attributed it to “unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus,” both jaundice-related problems that are treatable.

Abigail never saw a doctor when blood was coming out of her mouth, she wasn’t eating, or her skin became further discolored. All because her parents put more trust in God than someone who could actually help.

The couple did not think outside intervention was necessary, and the pleas of family members urging them to seek help fell on deaf ears. Instead of calling for help, they called clergy to pray on their dying child.

As reported by

At one point Piland’s mother, Rebecca Kerr, told her daughter that Abigail’s skin was “not the right color.”

“Rachel told Rebecca about (the midwife’s) concern,” the detective said. “And then Rachel went to listen to sermons.”

Rebecca Kerr wanted to call for help but “Rachel would not allow her,” Scaccia said.

Authorities only learned of the child’s death after Rachel Piland’s brother called from California and told police a baby had died at the couple’s home, Lansing Police Detective Peter Scaccia said in a hearing that led to the charges.

“They then brought Abigail upstairs to pray for her. Joshua continued to massage Abigail, attempting to get her good air. Both Josh and (Rachel) reached out to friends and fellow church members to come to their home and pray for Abigail’s resurrection, but never called the police.”

Now having been charged with involuntary manslaughter, the pair face up to 15 years behind bars.

“They let their child die because religious pride was more important to them than common sense.

The only way these avoidable tragedies will stop is if the parents are handed the maximum sentence. Religious conviction should never be a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.”

What do you think about withholding medical interventions for children in your care due to religious reasons? Is it a reasonable expression of exercising one’s right to freedom or religion? Let us know in the comment section below.

(Article by Tasha Sharifa)

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