(1) No child who in lieu of medical treatment is under treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with a recognized method of religious healing shall, for that reason alone, be considered to have been neglected or dependent within the purview of this article. However, the religious rights of a parent, guardian, or legal custodian shall not limit the access of a child to medical care in a life-threatening situation or when the condition will result in serious disability. In order to make a determination as to whether the child is in a life-threatening situation or that the child's condition will result in serious disability, the court may, as provided under section 19-1-104 (3), order a medical evaluation of the child. If the court determines, on the basis of any relevant evidence before the court, including the medical evaluation ordered pursuant to this section, that the child is in a life-threatening situation or that the child's condition will result in serious disability, the court may, as provided under section 19-1-104 (3), order that medical treatment be provided for the child. A child whose parent, guardian, or legal custodian inhibits or interferes with the provision of medical treatment in accordance with a court order shall be considered to have been neglected or dependent for the purposes of this article and injured or endangered for the purposes of section 18-6-401, C.R.S.
(2) A method of religious healing shall be presumed to be a recognized method of religious healing if:
(a) (I) Fees and expenses incurred in connection with such treatment are permitted to be deducted from taxable income as medical expenses pursuant to regulations or rules promulgated by the United States internal revenue service; and
(II) Fees and expenses incurred in connection with such treatment are generally recognized as reimbursable health care expenses under medical policies of insurance issued by insurers licensed by this state; or
(b) Such treatment provides a rate of success in maintaining health and treating disease or injury that is equivalent to that of medical treatment.
(3) Refusing an immunization on the grounds of medical, religious, or personal belief considerations, as set forth in section 25-4-903, or opting to exclude immunization notification information from the immunization tracking system established in section 25-4-2403 (7) by itself does not constitute child abuse or neglect by a parent or legal guardian for the purposes of this article 3.
Source: L. 87: Entire title R&RE, p. 760, 1, effective October 1. L. 89: Entire section amended, p. 924, 1, effective June 7. L. 92: Entire section amended, p. 174, 2, effective April 16. L. 93: (1) amended, p. 1637, 23, effective July 1. L. 2020: (3) added, (HB 20-1297), ch. 264, p. 1266, 1, effective September 14.
Editor's note: This section was contained in a title that was repealed and reenacted in 1987. Provisions of this section, as it existed in 1987, are similar to those contained in 19-1-114 as said section existed in 1986, the year prior to the repeal and reenactment of this title.
This section does not provide an absolute defense to charges of child abuse pursuant to 18-6-401. Treatment by spiritual means was not a defense where parents failed to obtain medical care necessary to treat a child's life-threatening condition. People v. Lybarger, 790 P.2d 855 (Colo. App. 1989).