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Newmark v. Williams

Supreme Court of Delaware
588 A.2d 1108 (1991)


Colin Newmark, a three-year-old child, faced death if his aggressive form of pediatric cancer, Burkitt’s Lymphoma, went untreated. Colin’s parents were Christian Scientists who opposed the use of any medical treatment and instead, relied on spiritual aid and prayer. The Delaware Division of Child Protective Services (DCPS) petitioned a family court for temporary custody of Colin so that his condition could be treated with an invasive and painful chemotherapy treatment that had less than a 40 percent chance for success. If left untreated, Colin had six to eight months to live. Colin’s parents objected to the petition and relied on state law which exempted parents from state abuse and neglect statutes if they refused to medically treat a child’s illness based on religious beliefs. The parents also claimed that removing Colin from their custody would violate their First Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution to freely exercise their religion.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Moore, J.)

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