Who Has Right to Vaccinate Children?

vaccineOregon’s Supreme Court heard oral arguments at Franklin High School on Tuesday for a case involving the right of the state to immunize children who are wards of the court.

Last year, Department of Health and Human Services workers removed eight children from their parents’ home in Marion County. In court documents, the parents admitted to “various allegations regarding the conditions and circumstances of their children.” 

DHS asked a judge for permission to immunize the children, but the parents objected on religious grounds. 
Speaking after the hearing, DHS lawyer Michael Casper stressed the case is about immunization, not more serious medical procedures like circumcision or gender reassignment. 

“There’s case law out there. The United State Supreme Court has said that immunization is something that the state can do if it has a compelling reason, even over a parent’s religious objections,” Casper explained.

Opposing attorney Kimberlee Petrie Volm argued that DHS doesn’t have the authority to immunize when it has temporary jurisdiction over a child.

By Kristian Foden-Vencil for OPB, a NW News Exchange co-op member