SPEAKER: LIZ HEYWOOD
‘Religious Overdose: My Survival of Childhood Medical Neglect’
True Story Told by a Young Woman Who Lost Her Leg to Prayer
When Liz Heywood was 13, she developed a bone infection in her left knee that was so bad, her mother had to put a cookie sheet under the knee to catch the pus that was draining from it. At times Liz screamed in pain but her parents, both Christian Scientists, refused to call a doctor. The only medical treatment she received was prayer by a Christian Science practitioner. Liz wonders now why none of the neighbors who heard her screams ever investigated.
Liz no longer has her left leg, which has been amputated above the knee. She will walk into the NYC Atheists’ meeting on Thursday wearing her prosthetic left leg.
“I remember clearly the agony and anguish I felt as a child,” Liz says. “I remember that no adult stepped forward to end it. The law authorized my parents’ decision to leave me untreated. And the sanction of the law discouraged others from doing what is right. But refusing to act on the pain a child feels is criminal.”
Telling Her Story
Today, Liz is telling her story to legislators, hoping to help other children. “My case is not unique,” Liz says. “Children today are in danger. Federal law still contains a loophole that permits states to ignore the kind of torture I experienced, and 39 states have elected to have such religious loopholes in their child abuse laws. “
Liz, who left the Christian Science religion behind years ago, has forgiven her parents who, she now thinks, did not know what to do about her crisis and simply adhered to their church’s teachings.
Need to Amend Child Abuse Laws
But her heart goes out to all children who are, or will be, victims of childhood medical neglect. “I hope you all encourage Congress to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) so that states protect all abused and neglected children equally--instead of excluding religious-based medical neglect from their definition of child abuse.”
Come on Thursday, November 21, to hear Liz Heywood’s heart-wrenching story and understand her fiery resolve to fight for children’s rights to medical care.
Compassion for Children
If you, as an Atheist, have any compassion at all for the plight of helpless children who cannot fight for their own rights or are too frightened or too naive to even know that they are entitled to medical help, come and hear Liz Heywood’s story.
Your heart may break but we know you will be inspired by Liz’s courage and determination. This is how moral Atheists face adversity: by trying to make sure that future generations don’t suffer from the ignorance that beset us in the past. Three cheers for Liz!
WHAT: “RELIGIOUS OVERDOSE: MY SURVIVAL
OF CHILDHOOD MEDICAL NEGLECT,”
a talk by Liz Heywood of Ithaca, NY
WHEN: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2013
WHERE: SLC CONFERENCE CENTER
15 West 39th St.
COST: NYC Atheists suggest a voluntary
donation of $10 to help pay
the cost of the conference space.
Students and unemployed, free.