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On Tuesday, the 17th of November, the District of Columbia will finalize a bill that would flout existing Supreme Court precedent and greatly diminish parental rights regarding a minor’s healthcare. The Minor Consent for Vaccinations Amendment Act (Bill 23-171) will allow children as young as 11 to consent on their own in regard to receiving vaccinations. Their parents will not be informed.

The bill will declare, “A minor, eleven years of age or older, may consent to receive a vaccine where the minor is capable of meeting the informed consent standard, and the vaccine is recommended by the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)…”

To meet the “informed consent standard,” the bill says the minor must be “able to comprehend the needs for, the nature of, and any significant risks ordinarily inherent in the medical care.”

However, the bill does not establish exactly who would determine if the child is able to comprehend these factors, nor does it state that the child will be told that vaccines, though generally safe, are not risk free.

Supreme Court precedent has been clearly established and has held for decades that parents have both the duty and the right to direct the care, custody, and control of their minor children. This bill is in direct conflict with said Supreme Court precedent and contrary to the U.S. Constitution.

In fact, in its 1979 Parham v. J.R. decision, the Supreme Court declared that the state cannot make these decisions:

 “Simply because the decision of a parent is not agreeable to a child, or because it involves risks, does not automatically transfer the power to make that decision from the parents to some agency or officer of the state. The same characterizations can be made for a tonsillectomy, appendectomy, or other medical procedure. Most children, even in adolescence, simply are not able to make sound judgments concerning many decisions, including their need for medical care or treatment. Parents can and must make those judgments.”

The state taking parental rights away and allowing impressionable children to be guided by government motives is a terrifying notion. Nevertheless, the bill passed the previous votes with only a single dissenting voice from Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8).

“Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children,” White said, going on to claim that vaccines, which are generally safe, do pose a potential risk to children’s health. White cited the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to argue that vaccines are not entirely safe.

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Though the NVIC program is downplayed by those who ignore the vaccine companies' own warnings on the inserts of every drug, the fact remains that in just 13 years, thousands of settlements have been awarded, totaling over $4.2 billion in payouts.

“Medical professionals and schools should not be permitted to coerce impressionable minors into procedures capable of causing injury or death behind their parents’ back,” White said. “There have been comments about the Centers for Disease Control having [approved] these said vaccinations. For me, it’s not an issue of the vaccination. It’s an issue of the council voting to circumvent the inclusion of a parent making a decision about their child.”

We agree.

But this bill gets worse. Not only does it remove the right of the parent to make the judgement for their child, it also establishes a methodology to keep it secret from them while still charging their insurance.

The bill specifies that insurance providers shall seek reimbursement from the insurer without parental consent, so they “shall not send an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for services provided” under the bill.

What's more, the bill essentially requires the falsification of the child's medical records regarding vaccinations by requiring the health care provider administering the vaccines to “leave the immunization record in Part 3 blank, and…submit the immunization record directly to the minor’s school.” The records would then be kept at the school and the parents would not have access.

"The school shall keep this immunization record confidential, except it may share the record with the Department of Health or the school-based health center.”

Here at the Free Thought Project, we are not "anti-vaxxers" but rather advocate for informed consent and vaccine safety. This bill flies in the face of both of these. It will go for a vote on November 17 and will most likely be approved.

If this blatant attack on parental rights isn't called out in D.C., rest assured it will spread to other states and this slippery slope could remove parental rights entirely, handing over parental duties to the state — a terrifying though indeed.