The debate over the right of parents to exempt their children from immunization has grown increasingly heated in recent years. State laws allow parents who have custody of their children to refuse vaccination before the children attend public schools. Oregon leads the nation with 5.8 percent of kindergartners exempted from immunization last year. A case currently before the Oregon Supreme Court will rule whether parents who have had their children taken into state custody by the Department of Human Services still retain the right to refuse immunization shots.
The suit was brought by a Marion County county couple whose children were taken into state custody in January of 2012. The children were removed from the parents home after allegations surfaced involving the “conditions and circumstances” of their eight children between the ages of one and eight years old. DHS officials requested permission from a juvenile court judge to immunize the children despite the parents’ objections on religious grounds. Earlier this year, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the parents did not have the right to restrict the state’s medical treatment decisions while the children were under the state’s care. The Oregon Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on Tuesday.
Have you chosen not to immunize your own children? What do you think about the state’s medical rights in this case?
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OPB | Sept. 22, 2016