Debate: What if divorced parents disagree over vaccinations? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Looking into a case in another thread got me thinking.  

 

A lot of anti vaccine people were (not unexpectedly) angry about a ruling which gave the father the right to vaccinate their child. 

 

So for this hypothetical, the mother wants zero vaccines and the father wants all recommended vaccines.  Neither one will agree on a partial vaccine schedule. They have equal joint custody.

 

Obviously, a child cannot be vaccinated with the father and un vaccinated with the mother so one of them has to lose. 

 

Now the question is not what your personal opinion on vaccines are.  The question is: How do you think it should be decided?  I feel like having a judge hear two sides from expert testimonies and then coming to a decision that he feels is in the best interest of the child is the best and really only way to go about this. 

 

But judging from the many outraged responses to the ruling I have to wonder how else they think it should have been done? 

 

How should it be decided? 


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#2 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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There is really no point in debating. The courts generally go with the Status Quo. So they would side with the CDC and the State, always. However, if ONE parent had custody and the other parent just happened to love vaccines (but not have primary custody) then there is more of a chance, because medical decisions are left to parents except in dire medical necessity and courts don't like to get overly involved in details . . .

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#3 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:22 PM
 
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There WAS an interesting case recently in Oregon where the state had taken custody of 8 or 10 children from one family. The parents had already lost custody but were asking that their Vax beliefs be considered. However, yk, I think in any other state, it would have been a fait accompli: of course if you lose custody in a permanent way, the State is going to provide 'standard medical care'.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/court-rules-8-oregon-children-to-be-vaccinated-against-parents-will

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#4 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by dinahx View Post

There is really no point in debating. The courts generally go with the Status Quo. So they would side with the CDC and the State, always. However, if ONE parent had custody and the other parent just happened to love vaccines (but not have primary custody) then there is more of a chance, because medical decisions are left to parents except in dire medical necessity and courts don't like to get overly involved in details . . .

 

Well how do you propose a judge make a decision then? Just off of mommy instinct?  

 

A judge is legally obligated to look at things with an open mind.  These aren't doctors that are making the legal decision, it's a judge. So how else could it be decided?  They have no bone in this dog fight. They don't make money from vaccines, they don't get push backs from pharmaceutical companies for ruling in favor of vaccines, so they seem like the logical choice to make this kind of decision don't you think?


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#5 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:34 PM
 
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The judge isn't even allowed to consider questions of medicine. I think they should obey the spirit of Helsinki, that the medical interests of the individual should outweigh the interests of science or society. However, I don't see how they would get away with siding with the CDC. In most states, one parent typically gets the dominant custody. So that parent would be required by law to have a physician for the child . . . That physician could make recommendations . . . Technically either one parent gets to make medical decisions or they have to work it out between themselves.

 

As in the case that inspired you thread, it is of course always POSSIBLE that a non-custodial parent could bring a child to a medical office and pose as custodial . . . This is much more of a worry for me with Circumcision, tho once my dad was watching my son, and it totally occurred to me (and was a little joke between us) that if he had brought my son to the local HD to 'get caught up for K' I am *sure* the HD would have injected first, asked questions later.

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#6 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:36 PM
 
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I am not sure what you are asking tho: judges don't operate in a vacuum of utopian justice seeking. They basically are just a part of society and administer 'justice' within that context, just like 'science' practiced within the context of our Corporatocracy is different than true utopian ideal science.

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#7 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:38 PM
 
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The judge should try to determine which parent has done more research into the matter. Also religious objections would have to be considered.


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#8 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by dinahx View Post

The judge isn't even allowed to consider questions of medicine. I think they should obey the spirit of Helsinki, that the medical interests of the individual should outweigh the interests of science or society. However, I don't see how they would get away with siding with the CDC. In most states, one parent typically gets the dominant custody. So that parent would be required by law to have a physician for the child . . . That physician could make recommendations . . . Technically either one parent gets to make medical decisions or they have to work it out between themselves.

 

As in the case that inspired you thread, it is of course always POSSIBLE that a non-custodial parent could bring a child to a medical office and pose as custodial . . . This is much more of a worry for me with Circumcision, tho once my dad was watching my son, and it totally occurred to me (and was a little joke between us) that if he had brought my son to the local HD to 'get caught up for K' I am *sure* the HD would have injected first, asked questions later.

 

So your opinion is that it should never go to the courts? 

 

What if that physician's opinion is not the general consensus? What if the father/mother disagrees and wants to get their own opinion?

 

I certainly disagree than you should be able to doctor shop and cherry pick a single physician to base a legal decision on.  They aren't a neutral party like a judge is.  You can have that physician as an expert witness, sure, but a legal decision shouldn't be based on one single doctor's opinion. 


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#9 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

The judge should try to determine which parent has done more research into the matter. Also religious objections would have to be considered.

 

What if a parent isn't qualified to look and analyze medical data?  

 

Or what if a parent's idea of research is spending hundreds of hours going through anti vaccine websites? Or spending hours watching anti vaccine videos on youtube? Or spending hundreds of hours reading anti vaccine books?  Does that really qualify as research? 

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#10 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:48 PM
 
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I thought this was very interesting.

 

http://www.volokh.com/2012/03/08/childrens-immunizations-and-disputes-between-divorced-parents/  the link to the judgement is in the artcile.  

 

Summary:  divorced parents with joint custody disagreed on vaccination.  The mother did not want them, for religious reasons, and the father did.

 

The courts decided the joint legal custody was not working as joint custody carries with an abiltiy to decided together.  As such, joint legal custody was disolved.  The courts then had to decide who to give legal custody to - and while the courts felt vaccination was the wise choice, the mother had clearly been the one who had more involvement to date in the childs medical care  and thus was the person who should have legal custody and decision making powers on health matters.  One assumes the child is not vaccinated.

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#11 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by micah_mae_ View Post

The judge should try to determine which parent has done more research into the matter. Also religious objections would have to be considered.

 

Why should one parent's religious beliefs outweigh the other parent's?


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#12 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 05:53 PM
 
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What y'all are not getting is that in a CUSTODY case, a judge is not specifically deciding on vax issues. They are deciding which parent is more 'fit' to make ALL decisions, medical, educational, religious, otherwise. As PP noted, if the parents refuse to work together, the court will award primary to one or the other and the decision will (and should not) be based on just vax issues. Usually the custodial parent makes these OR they both have rights and have to duke it out, but courts are not in the position, generally of arbitrating things like Presbyterian vs. Pentacostal, or DTaP vs. Pentacel vs. nothing. It would go to the parent who is primary.

 

MOST custody cases actually never even go before a judge . . .

 

As far as whether reading so called 'anti-vax' materials counts as research? Well neither does reading 'skeptical blogs' IMO. If we are going to have a research-off, it should be enough to ask each parent to name all the common childhood immunizations, (bonus points for manufacturer), what diseases they are for, and three common adverse events for each. That simple quiz would knock like 95% of parents right out of the ring! LOL

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#13 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 06:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by teacozy View Post

 

What if a parent isn't qualified to look and analyze medical data?  

 

I am not sure this matters.  Parents are asked to make medical decision for their children every day, and most are not "qualified" to look at and anlyze medical data.  They are asked to as they are the ones who will bear the consequences.  None of this changes if they divorce.  Someone still has to make medical decisions for the child.  In joint, hopefully the parents work it out.  If they can't, perhaps joint custody needs to be dissolved.  

 

Or what if a parent's idea of research is spending hundreds of hours going through anti vaccine websites? Or spending hours watching anti vaccine videos on youtube? Or spending hundreds of hours reading anti vaccine books?  Does that really qualify as research? 

 

What if the other parent has not researched at all?  I cannot count how many times a mother has come onto MDC and said " I want to homebirth, not vax, homeschool, and DH hates the idea but will not do any research at all."

 

I don't know any non-vaxxers who only read non-vax websites, books etc.  


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The courts decided the joint legal custody was not working as joint custody carries with an abiltiy to decided together.  As such, joint legal custody was disolved.  The courts then had to decide who to give legal custody to

 

I have to agree that's the way to go.  The parents have not demonstrated a good-faith willingness to make decisions jointly.  The judge should award medical decision-making power to the parent best suited to the responsibility -- and vaxing should not be the only measure.

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#15 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 06:12 PM
 
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faint.gifWe agree.  The world can stop spinning now (jk)


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#16 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Isn't that what was done in the case discussed in the other thread? 

 

"Mother is a chiropractor and a proponent of holistic medicine. A tenet of her religious beliefs is that God has provided the human body with an innate immune system that enables the body to heal itself. Mother believes that anything introduced into the body to prevent disease or treat illness is against the will of God. Specifically, Mother opposes vaccinations. Accordingly, pursuant to section 1003.22(5)(a), Florida Statutes (2007), Mother obtained an exemption for the minor child from the immunization requirement to attend public school.

Conversely, Father desires that the minor child receive traditional medical care, including well baby exams, blood draws, urinalysis, and vaccinations.

 

Following conflicting expert testimony [1], the court determined that it was in the best interests of the minor child to award Father ultimate responsibility to make decisions regarding the minor child’s health care and vaccinations. We affirm the trial court’s decision because it was supported by competent, substantial evidence...." 

 

http://www.volokh.com/2011/01/26/court-upholds-decision-giving-parent-authority-over-childs-medical-care-because-that-parent-would-immunize-the-child/

 

So does everyone agree this was the best way to go about making a decision? 


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#17 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 06:27 PM
 
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So does everyone agree this was the best way to go about making a decision? 

 

I would have liked to see more emphasis on which parent was best-suited to make medical decisions (which parent does the doctor appointments, which parent stays home with the sick child, etc.) instead of an emphasis on the decision itself, although I agree with the court.


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#18 of 18 Old 07-31-2013, 06:51 PM
 
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I think part of the issue is that the mother in the case above may have not wanted to do well visits? Altho well visits don't typically include urinalysis.
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