vaccine

Pediatrician's refusal to treat unvaccinated kids: Legal and ethical ramifications

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by: Alan Phillips, J.D.
Tags: Pediatricians, vaccines, ethics

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) The following is a letter to U.S. Pediatricians who refuse to treat unvaccinated kids whose parents are exercising a legal exemption to immunizations. A copy of the letter itself is here:
Open Letter to Pediatricians


Attention: Pediatricians
United States of America

Re: Legal and Ethical Ramifications of Refusing to Treat Unvaccinated Children

Dear Pediatricians:

Physicians who refuse to treat unvaccinated children due to a parent's exercise of a lawful exemption to immunizations may be violating the parent's Constitutional rights and state ethical rules, and risking liability and/or sanctions accordingly.[1,2]

First, if you refuse to treat a child for the sole reason that a parent is exercising a vaccine religious exemption, you may be violating the parent's Constitutional rights. State vaccine religious exemption laws are backed by the First Amendment's "free exercise" Constitutional protection. Even private practices may be at risk, if they accept Medicaid and Medicare, as private entities with substantial ties to government may be considered "state actors" for purposes of application of the Constitution directly to those private entities.[3] State constitutional religious freedom rights may be violated as well.

Religious freedom is not a trivial matter. Federal courts in vaccine religious exemption cases have held that the "loss of First Amendment Freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury"[4] and have awarded money damages for the loss of First Amendment rights.[5] Thus, pediatricians should tread cautiously where vaccine religious exemptions are concerned.

Ethical concerns apply to the exercise of both religious and philosophical exemptions. For example, refusing to treat exempt children:

• Contradicts medical association recommendations;[6]
• Punishes innocent children for their parents' decision, and potentially puts those innocent children at risk from the resulting loss of medical care; and
• Punishes law-abiding parents for exercising a legal right, and without good cause, as the lawful exercise of a vaccine exemption, by both legislative presumption and CDC statistics and accepted medical theory, does not create a significant health risk -- e.g., non-immune vaccinated kids greatly outnumber exempt kids.[7]

Finally, this refusal policy raises serious professionalism concerns. A threat of refusal to treat is a discriminatory coercive act; refusing to treat an act of authoritarian punishment. In short, these behaviors amount to professional bullying. Worse, they are completely misplaced. State legislatures would not have enacted exemption laws if their exercise would cause a significant risk to anyone. If you disagree, the proper target for your concern is the state legislature -- not parents exercising a right granted by lawmakers who have already determined that the exercise of exemptions poses no significant risks.

A related misunderstanding concerns the fact that state exemption laws generally allow one parent to exercise the exemption, without requiring the consent of the other parent. In contrast, vaccinating a child usually requires both parents' consent, since parents generally share decision-making authority over their children equally unless a law or court order says otherwise. Again, those who object may address their concerns with their state representatives, since legislators -- not parents -- make the laws.

To be clear, an unvaccinated child whose parents are not exercising a lawful exemption may pose a legitimate liability risk, as those parents may not be in compliance with the law. In this case, you may be justified in requiring a waiver from the parents, or in temporarily refusing to treat a child until the parents vaccinate or a parent exercises an exemption. Of course, ethics would require that any child needing immediate medical attention be treated promptly, regardless of the child's vaccination status.

For the above reasons, the policy of refusing to treat legally exempt, unvaccinated children is improper and should cease immediately. But this is also a matter of common sense. Bullying tactics will not change parents' minds, but it will generate resentment that will add to the ongoing erosion of public confidence in the medical profession. Mature, intelligent discourse on vaccine concerns may create mutual respect and understanding of contrasting concerns. Alternative and complementary medicine has grown steadily for decades now. Medical doctors would serve themselves and others better by tolerating alternative vaccine views, as they are clearly here to stay.[8]

Alan Phillips, J.D. is a leading U.S. Vaccine Rights attorney who works with clients and legislative activists around the U.S. on vaccine exemption and waiver rights and legal issues. For more information, see www.vaccinerights.com.

---------
[1] This letter is for educational purposes only, and not intended to constitute medical or legal advice.
[2] As voluminous information exists elsewhere substantiating parents' exemption choices, this letter will focus instead on legal and ethical considerations only. Sources for such information are available on request.
[3] See, e.g., Opinion No. GA-0420, April 6, 2006, Attorney General of Texas, Gregg Abbott, stating that private schools in Texas do not have to accept religious exemptions unless the school accepts state funds.
[4] Berg v. Glen Cove City School Dist., 853 F. Supp. 651, 654 (E.D.N.Y. 1994) (quoting Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373, 96 S.Ct. 2673, 2689, 49 L.Ed.2d 547 (1976)).
[5] Lewis v. Sobel, 710 F. Supp. 506, 517 (S.D.N.Y. 1989).
[6] More Doctors 'Fire' Vaccine Refusers, The Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2012.
[7] E.g., 5 - 15% of vaccinated children are not immune, while exemption rates run from 1 - 2.5%. See "Vaccine Exemptions: Do They Really Put Others at Risk?", Natural News, February 21, 2012, http://www.naturalnews.com
[8] See, e.g., Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll Finds One in Four Americans Believe Vaccines are Unsafe, September 30, 2011, http://www.prnewswire.com Majority Support Parental Vaccination Choice According To New Harris Poll, PR Newswire, May 24, 2010, http://www.prnewswire.com and 52% Concerned About Safety of Vaccines, Rasmussen Reports, August 20, 2010, http://www.rasmussenreports.com.

About the author:
Alan Phillips, Vaccine Rights Attorney
attorney@vaccinerights.com, 1-828-575-2622
Vaccine Rights (www.vaccinerights.com)

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.