Daughter Says Parents Should Be Prosecuted Over Lack of Medical Treatment

Mariah Walton says her heart condition was left untreated for 18 years because of her parents' religious beliefs.
3:15 | 04/19/16

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Daughter Says Parents Should Be Prosecuted Over Lack of Medical Treatment
get to a story making a lot of headlines. A young woman who's battling for her life suffering serious health setbacks after her parents refused to get her medical treatment because of their faith and believes they should be prosecuted. Deb Roberts is here with that story. Well, she was born to parents who don't believe in the power of doctors to heal. So Mariah Walton never even knew she was born with a birth defect until it had devastated her body leaving her disabled and now very angry. I would have terrible headaches to the point where I would be sobbing it hurt so bad. Reporter: 20-year-old Mariah Walton was born with a hole in her heart. I couldn't catch my breath and my lungs are on fire. And I had this sensation like my feet felt like they were falling asleep like needles in my feet. Reporter: It could have been repaired by surgery, she says, yet her parents did not seek treatment. My mom's reaction was that I needed to be prayed over, have more supments, something that would cure what I was having and she wouldn't take me to a doctor. Reporter: Her parents are practicing fundamentalist mormons who believe in faith and prayer to treat illness. When I tried to bring it up they said don't talk about it, sweep it under the rug. It's not even true. Reporter: Emily Walton, Mariah's older sister regrets not trying harder to intervene. I regret not taking her to the emergency room. I feel terrible about that. Reporter: Mariah grew up in Idaho, 1 of 32 states that provides a religious defense against potential crimes specifically against children including neglect, endangerment and abuse. My parents do deserve to be prosecuted. It's unfair of my parents to just throw me into this situation and my sister has had to support me. Kids who are in need of medical care can still make a report to child protective services to other mandatory reporters in order to force parents to provide them with medical care. Reporter: Mariah and her sister were recently part of a panel discussion about the issue at the Idaho state capital. Both now hoping to lift the exemptions currently in place. I hope to accomplish getting this law repealed so people like me will not have to suffer anymore in Mariah's best hope is for a heart/lung transplant, a highly complicated and risky surgery but it's her only chance for a future life. In the meantime, she gets support, emotional and financialal from her siblings. She's one of ten kids. That's her family just her siblings because she had needs a life line. If she would have had that procedure -- sdmrrs she's estranged from her parents and very angry because she feels like that she was basically sacrificed because of their religious beliefs which is why she wants it overturned so parents can be held accountable. We reached out to the waltons for comment and we did not hear back. To hear from her older sister to feel she could have done more but she was a child herself and now she's in essence taking care of her. Exactly. You know, when you know better you do better and that's what her sister feels. I hope she can get that transplant. Thank you, Deborah. We switch gears, switchup

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":38497880,"title":"Daughter Says Parents Should Be Prosecuted Over Lack of Medical Treatment","duration":"3:15","description":"Mariah Walton says her heart condition was left untreated for 18 years because of her parents' religious beliefs.","url":"/GMA/video/daughter-parents-prosecuted-lack-medical-treatment-38497880","section":"GMA","mediaType":"default"}