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Family in child custody fight after home birth

The right to practice one's religion, and to raise one's children according to that religion, is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Parents in Texas and across the nation have the right to dictate how their children will be raised, a right that is held dear and strongly protected. There are cases, however, in which a family's choices for its children run afoul of the preferences of the state. Such is the case for one family that is currently struggling to retain its child custody rights regarding its three infant children.

The case centers on a couple who have integrated their religious beliefs into the way that they raise their children. Already parents to a 10-month-old child, the pair recently delivered twins in an unassisted home birth. The mother chose to forego an ultrasound, as well as traditional prenatal care, during her pregnancy.

After the birth, paramedics arrived at the family's home and suggested that the infants be taken to the hospital for a wellness check. The family refused, due to concerns about exposing the babies to diseases potentially present within the hospital. The next day, workers from the local child protective services department arrived at the home, and an investigation was initiated.

Soon after, all three children were removed from their parents' care. The family is only allowed to spend time together once each week, despite the fact that all three babies were being breastfed before their removal from their home. The family is fighting the matter in court and are asserting that the decision to remove their children was based on the state's wish to impose standards of proper parenting instead of as a protective measure that was in the best interests of the children involved. For parents in Texas and beyond who are dealing with similar child custody issues, this case is one that may warrant attention as it proceeds through the legal system.

Source: USA Today, "Couple fight for custody of children after home birth", Alison Morrow, Dec. 4, 2014

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