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Federal Judge Halts D.C. Law That Would Allow 11-Year-Olds to Get Vaccines Without Parental Consent


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It appears some U.S. courts still function properly after all.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on March 18th issued an order to temporarily halt a D.C. law that allows minors to get vaccinated without parental consent.

The preliminary injunction prohibits the mayor of D.C., the D.C. Department of Health, and D.C. public schools from enforcing the D.C. Minor Consent for Vaccination Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Minor Consent Act) until further order of the court.

“This is a major legal victory for children, parental rights and informed consent,” said Rolf Hazlehurst, senior staff attorney for Children’s Health Defense (CHD) who argued the case.

“Government overreach such as this has dire implications for children’s health and the constitutional rights of citizens,” Hazlehurst said.

The D.C. Minor Consent Act would allow children as young as 11 to get vaccinated without their parent’s knowledge.

As reported by The Hill, the case was brought before a federal judge due to two lawsuits started by parents last year:

The decision, issued Friday, comes as health officials debate the merits of recommending additional COVID-19 booster shots, and as regulators and drug companies continue to analyze clinical evidence for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years old.

Under the law, children whose parents objected to vaccines on religious grounds would have access to their own medical records, and providers would be allowed to seek reimbursement directly from the insurer without parental knowledge or consent.

The law was initially aimed at allowing teenagers to have access to the HPV vaccine and the meningitis vaccine, as it was passed prior to COVID-19 vaccines becoming available. The law applies only to vaccines that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Parents brought two separate lawsuits in July that challenged the law.

One lawsuit, brought by the father of a teenager at a public charter school, alleged that the District created a “pressure-cooker environment, enticing and psychologically manipulating” their child to “defy their parents and take vaccinations against their parents’ wills.”

The father alleged that his child was “medically frail” and developed autoimmunity, alopecia (severe hair loss), asthma, and eczema after receiving vaccines. As a result, he said he is of the sincere religious belief that “he should not inject a foreign substance into his son’s body that may harm him,” and objects to the COVID-19 vaccine as well as all standard childhood vaccines.

The Defender provided an additional update:

CHD and Parental Rights Foundation filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to declare the D.C. Act unconstitutional. Plaintiffs, (Booth, et al.) are four parents of minor children who attend public school in Washington, D.C. Oral arguments were heard on March 3, 2022.

In the opinion issued March 18, the court found the parents likely to succeed on the merits in their arguments that the D.C. Act is unconstitutional for two reasons.

First, the D.C. Act is preempted by federal law because it directly contradicts the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. Second, the D.C. Act also violates the right to free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

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Hazlehurst argued the District created a “pressure-cooker environment, enticing and psychologically manipulating [minor children] to defy their parents and take vaccinations against their parents’ will.”

The plaintiffs overcame a high legal hurdle that “threatened injury must be certainly impending” as established by the U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l. — in part by the use of a drawing by one of the plaintiff’s children entitled “Peer Pressure.”

D.C. isn’t the only battleground for parental rights over vaccinations taken by their children.

New York state has introduced legislation that would allow children as young as 14 to receive vaccinations without parental consent.

New York Bill Would Lower Age of Consent for Vaccinations to 14-Years-Old



 

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