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Originally published August 19 2015

Maine Supreme Court rules that State can vaccinate children against will of parents

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Four out of five Supreme Court justices in the State of Maine think that parental rights concerning vaccination are moot in the event that the State takes custody of a child. In a landmark ruling that sets a dire precedent for health freedom, the Court decided in a recent case that a mother whose child was taken into custody by the State of Maine no longer has authority to opt out of vaccinations for her own child.

Reiterating why we need a constitutional amendment that clearly delineates the fundamental right of parents to make health decisions for their own children, the Court declared that the statutory rights of parents are terminable at will, even when there's no "clear and convincing evidence" that such rights need to be revoked for a child's safety.

Under Maine State law, a mother's parental rights must first be legally terminated before the state is allowed to assume guardianship over a child. The validity of such termination is predicated on certain requirements being met on a case-by-case basis before the State is allowed to start making outlying health decisions concerning a child's welfare.

In this case, however, the State of Maine decided to override the mother's statutory rights based on a negligence determination that had nothing whatsoever to do with the child's vaccination status. A Lower Court had earlier decided that the mother's child was in danger due to the mother's boyfriend, which had nothing to do with whether or not the child was vaccinated. Nevertheless, a judge ordered that the Child Welfare department administer vaccines to the child against the mother's will.

The mother tried to appeal this decision, but she was ultimately shut down. In a 4-1 decision, the Maine Supreme Court ruled that the mother has no right to appeal the judge's orders unless her appeal deals specifically with the custody decision. In other words, once a child is taken into custody by the State, a judge - and not the child's mother or legal guardian - is granted full authority to make medical decisions for that child.

"The Department's decision to vaccinate Z.S. (the child in question) is a final decision that forever precludes the mother from exercising her statutory right to opt out," stated the Honorable Joseph M. Jabar, the one dissenting judge. "In ordering the Department to vaccinate Z.S. over the mother's objections, the court effectively terminated this statutory parental right without any hearing or any decision arrived at by clear and convincing evidence."

"This refusal to require that the 'terms of the order' recognize and adhere to parental rights established in statutory law provides a dire warning to any parent in Maine: If the state takes your child, the judge has very broad discretion to place in any custody decision that goes against you orders beyond the scope of the original case," reports

Should States be allowed to override parental authority? These four justices think so

The four justices who denied this mother her statutory rights, setting a dangerous precedent for future custody cases, are as follows:

Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley
Maine Supreme Judicial Court
205 Newbury Street, Room 139
Portland, Maine 04101-4125
(207) 822-4286

Donald G. Alexander
Maine Supreme Judicial Court
205 Newbury Street, Room 139
Portland, Maine 04101-4125
(207) 822-4175

Andrew M. Mead
Penobscot Judicial Center
78 Exchange Street
Bangor, Maine 04401-4913
(207) 561-2310

Ellen A. Gorman
Maine Supreme Judicial Court
205 Newbury Street, Room 139
Portland, Maine 04101-4125
(207) 822-4135

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