Couple whose newborn died wins key ruling from court

Associated Press

Lansing – A Lansing couple trying to keep custody of two children can argue that legitimate religious beliefs prevent them from seeking medical care for their children.

The Michigan Supreme Court says Rachel and Joshua Piland can request that jury instruction if they present sufficient evidence during a custody trial in Ingham County. The Pilands say their beliefs trump any allegations of neglect.

The court released a brief order Thursday, six weeks after hearing arguments.

Two children were removed from the home after a newborn girl died of jaundice after an at-home birth in 2017. A midwife who had assisted them suggested the baby be taken to a doctor, but the Pilands declined, saying the child’s health was in God’s hands.

The parents face involuntary manslaughter charges in the girl’s death.