We sometimes, in the arguments about vaccines, forget about the legal rights of children to vaccination – yes, this is a right. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss discussed how the child’s rights to good health care –including vaccinations–can take precedence over the wishes of parents (another article by her can be found here).
There is a belief amongst the antivaccination crowd that the parents have the absolute right to manage the healthcare of their children. Except for the fact that this has never been true – courts, as Dr. Reiss discussed, can intervene whenever parental healthcare choices (or lack thereof) harm the child. That’s how it works not only in the USA, but in most of the developed world.
Since children don’t have the ability to make their own healthcare choices, we assume that parents have that ability. But if the parents don’t, or make bad choices like not vaccinating, then courts and government officials have to make those choices. Continue reading “Legal rights of children to vaccination”