Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Juvenile Court Can Override Mother's Religious Objection To Vaccinations

In In re K. Y-B, (MD Ct. Special Appeals, Aug. 30, 2019), a Maryland appellate court upheld a Juvenile Court's order allowing the Baltimore City Department of Social Services to consent to the routine vaccinations of an infant in its custody, despite Muslim religious objections to vaccination expressed by the child's mother. The child, now seven moths old, was ordered into shelter care two days after his birth.  The parents had a long history of abuse and neglect of their other children. In a lengthy opinion, the court held:
[A]  parent is free to believe as she wishes, but she cannot act on her beliefs in such a way as to pose a serious danger to the child’s life or health or impair or endanger the child’s welfare....
[T]he juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the State’s compelling interest in protecting the health of the Child outweighs Mother’s belief that vaccination contravenes her faith.
Legal Newsline reports on the decision.