The Effects Of Parental Rights On Children

3262 WordsMay 7, 201514 Pages
Today, it seems as if more and more parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. Instead, these parents seem to be circumventing the mandate by utilizing, sometimes arbitrarily, the exemptions carved out by the states. But the growing number of unvaccinated children and the amount of outbreaks of preventable infectious diseases present some legal issues. One of which is the continued tension between the rights of parents and the government’s interest in the welfare of children. Parents are normally free to make the decisions for and on behalf of their children without having to worry about outside interferences. However, it does not mean that the state government cannot nor will not intrude upon parental rights if they feel the parents’ decisions negatively impact the physical and mental health of the children in the government’s jurisdiction. While parents do have the authority to make medical decisions for their children, they do not have the unrestricted power over the child’s life or death. If the state believes a child’s well-being is being jeopardized by the very people expected to safeguard them, then the state has the ability, via parens patriae, to step in and protect them. A. Fundamental Rights of Parents Parents have the fundamental right to care for their children as they see fit without interference from the government, provided there is no overriding compelling state interest. In fact, there is an expectation that the government will not
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