Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Objections To Child's Vaccination Were Not Genuine Religious Beliefs

In Miller v. Dicherry, (LA App, May 29, 2018), a Louisiana state appellate court rejected objections of a mother, who was the domiciliary parent under a joint custody decree, to having her child vaccinated.  The mother argued that she had a First Amendment right to refuse routine vaccinations for her child on religious grounds.  The court held that the mother's objections did not stem from a genuinely held religious beliefs.  It upheld the trial court's grant of authority to the child's father to make the medical decision that the child be vaccinated.  The court said in part:
[T]he trial court found that Ms. Dicharry's "reluctance to have her child vaccinated arises from a personal, moral, or cultural feeling against vaccination for her minor child." The trial court found that "[ t]hese views and feelings are more in the nature of a secular philosophy than a religious belief." Considering the record, we find no manifest error in the trial court's factual determinations.