(Daniel Jennings) A judge who ordered children vaccinated, despite their mother’s objections on religious grounds, acted properly, an appeals court in Michigan has ruled.
The unidentified mother’s requests were ignored because she had been deemed unfit by the state.
“Because the trial court has the authority to make medical decisions for children under its jurisdiction over (the mother’s) objections to immunization and the court did not clearly err by determining that vaccination was appropriate for the welfare of children and society, we affirm,” an opinion from the Michigan Court of Appeals read.
Michigan Live reported that the woman had been deemed unfit because of unstable housing, lack of financial support and food for the children, improper supervision, and mental health issues. The case began when a social worker asked a court in Kent County, Michigan, to order the children vaccinated.
The mother objected on religious grounds, but a judge ordered that the children be vaccinated. She filed an appeal, and the Court of Appeals upheld the judge’s ruling.
“When a parent has been found ‘unfit,’ the state may interfere with a parent’s right to direct the care, custody, and control of a child,” the appeals court ruled.
“We recognize that, were respondent a fit parent entitled to control and custody of her children, (state law) would undoubtedly allow her to forego the immunization of her children otherwise required by the Public Health Code on the grounds of religious objection.
“However, this provision is inapplicable on the present facts for the simple reason that the children are not being immunized as a result of provisions in the Public Health Code. That is, the trial court did not order the children’s immunization under any provision of the Public Health Cole, rather … the court exercised its broad authority to enter dispositional orders for the health of a child under its jurisdiction, including the authority to enter dispositional orders regarding medical treatment.”
The number of kids without vaccination in Michigan fell by 8,000, or 39 percent, between 2014 and 2015, after the state made it harder for parents to get vaccination waivers, Michigan Live reported.
Previously, parents could formally waive vaccinations by simply signing a paper at the child’s school. Starting in January 2015, the parents of public school children were required to sign the paperwork at the county health department after sitting through an education session about the benefits of vaccinations.
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