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Should Courts Force Parents to Vaccinate Their Children?

We all know that flu season is upon us. Reportedly, the recent flu vaccination is only 30% effective against the current flu strain.[1] Recently, a Domestic Relations Court in Michigan held a Mother in contempt for failing to vaccinate her children.[2] The reason it did so was because she had previously agreed to vaccinate her child in a consent agreement filed with the court, but when the time came, refused to go through with it. Since she was not following the court order, the court held her in contempt of court. This case brings up an interest question, should courts be able to force one parent to vaccinate their child if that parent is against it? Regardless of your views on vaccinations, when one parent’s wishes for their child goes against the other parent’s in a Domestic Relations proceeding, the court has the ability to determine which parent’s views will be determinative. However, the court does not like to force either parent to go against their own beliefs unless doing so is in the best interests of the child. Vaccinations are currently a controversial topic; however, most pediatricians agree that vaccinations are medically necessary for children.[3] Ultimately, when Courts are presented with two parents that differ in their views on vaccination, the court may be forced to choose, and it will likely side with the parent that is for vaccinations.

[1] https://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/flu-vaccine-30-effective-predominate-strain-cdc-52777976

[2]https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/michigan_mom_who_ignored_consent_order_to_vaccinate_her_son_sentenced_to_7

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2016/08/29/as-more-parents-refuse-vaccines-more-doctors-dismiss-them-with-aaps-blessing/#4183a3491f22

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