A Washington State couple is still trying to make sense of the state’s decision to send Child Protective Services officers to their home to abduct their three infant children.
The attorney for couple Erica May Carey and her partner Cleave Rengo filed a petition on their behalf yesterday in the Whatcom County Superior Court, labeling the state’s seizure of the three children “unlawful, unconscionable and inexcusable.”
Moreover, the petition states the couple’s eldest child is “suffering from pneumonia” while in state custody as a result of improper care.
Answers for why the state took their kids have not been forthcoming, but the couple suspects it was due to their unorthodox method of child birth, which they attribute to their religious beliefs, and their homeopathic approach to medicine.
After their first son, the couple decided to have their next child via unassisted home birth.
“I’ve done a lot of research about other women who have done it and they said the spiritual experience was so much more wholesome,” the breast-feeding mother told King5 News. “It was just us. We wanted to preserve that sanctity and sacredness in our birth.”
Throughout their second pregnancy, which they conceived less than a month after the birth of their first child, the couple never visited a hospital and didn’t have an ultrasound, making them all the more surprised when they found out they were having twins.
“I said, ‘Erica look!’ and she looked at her belly. There was an outline of a small baby in her belly. That’s when I discovered we were having twins,” Cleave recalled to KING5.
Evidently someone ended up reporting the couple’s home birth to the state, which then took a keen interest in investigating the parents.
Over the course of several visits, CPS officers “noticed the 10-month-old’s eczema, the couple says, which they treated with natural remedies like probiotics and coconut oil,” reports KING5.
The couple refused CPS’ recommended treatment, which involved applying steroid-laden creams, citing health concerns and their religious convictions.
“It’s a very harsh treatment and can have very negative side effects. It can cause damage to bones, the muscular system and liver,” Carey said.
The couple also refused to acknowledge CPS’ “authority” within their home.
“They wanted the authority in my household. I told them, ‘I’m a Christian and God gave me the authority in my household’,” Rengo said.
On November 6, CPS agents came to the couple’s home and took their children, “citing neglect for not giving Levi steroids for his eczema, and the home-birth without medical prenatal care with the twins,” according to Health Impact News. Carey asserts she “had prenatal care, just not with a doctor.”
While CPS says they are unable to discuss the case, they did issue a statement to KING5 saying that the couple’s “home birth” was not the reason they went after the couple:
“Due to confidentiality, we cannot discuss details, except to say that a court determined a child’s safety required removal from the home.
“No policy of Children’s Administration would allow a child to be taken due to a home birth. A home birth is not in any way a child safety risk factor in the view of Children’s Administration.”
Yesterday, constitutional lawyer Stephen Pidgeon submitted to the court a Writ of Habeus Corpus, arguing that the state lacked a “clear and present danger” basis to intervene, and moreover that it appeared CPS was policing what they believed to be “proper parenting.”
Republican state representative for Washington’s 42nd District, Jason Overstreet, who has been following the couple’s case closely, announced on his Facebook page yesterday that the state appeared to be dragging out their testimony, and that one judge overseeing the case “refused to even look at the writ.”
“The Attorney General’s Office took the entire hour, discussing police reports where no arrests were made, save one, prior to the birth of the children. No mention of the babies’ health and welfare was even attempted by the State.”
Meanwhile the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued guidelines to “low-risk” expecting mothers in England to abstain from giving birth in hospitals, due to a higher risk of contracting infection after undergoing more serious procedures in hospital wards.
A Facebook page has been set up to support the couple.