There is no religious exemption to criminal liability for parents failing to provide medical care based on faith.

Ohio Civil Statute:


There is a religious exemption to child endangerment and manslaughter for parents who treat their children using spiritual means in accordance with a recognized religious body.

Ohio Law Provides:
OHIO defense to felony child endangerment and manslaughter
It is not a violation of a duty of care, protection or support of a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under 21 years of age when the parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control or person in loco parentis treats the physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone, in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body.
Ohio Revised Code §2919.22a

Note: The above becomes a defense to manslaughter as well because man­slaughter requires proof that a separate felony has been committed.
See Ohio Rev. Code §2903.04.

Two county courts have ruled the religious defense prospectively unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the Establishment Clause and the Fourteenth Amend­ment’s guarantee of equal protection under the laws. State v. Miskimens, 490 N.E.2d 931 (Ohio Ct. Com. Pl. 1984) and State v. Miller, Mercer Cty. Common Pleas Ct., Ohio #86-CRM30 and 31 (1987). In Miller, the judge wrote, “It is the hope of this Court that these types of cases will not have to be pursued by the prosecution in the remaining eighty-six counties.”


The information provided is solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. To determine the Ohio SOL in a particular case, contact a lawyer in the state.