Children to be vaccinated against vegan mother’s wishes

family law

The High Court has declared that two young boys must be vaccinated against their vegan mother’s objections.

When they are old enough, the two children will now receive routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, meningitis, polio, diphtheria, mumps and rubella.

Their mother told the Court that she fed her children “only natural products” and that their “bodies are as free of toxins as I can possibly make them”. She had allowed the older of the two boys to be vaccinated against some diseases but claimed he had developed a persistent cough and skin conditions like eczema as a result.  Additionally, she objected to vaccinations because they were not vegan.

She said:

“[I]t goes against my beliefs for my children to be injected with something that is grown on animal cells or something that has been tested on animals.”

Her resistance to further vaccinations led the boys’ father to apply for a court order. He called the mother “obsessive, over-protective and narrow in her views”. He described her as someone who had “a suspicion of conventional medicinal methods” and was “even suspicious about the administration of something like Calpol”.

At the hearing in Lincoln, Judge Mark Rogers had “serious concerns as to [the mother’s] ability to look objectively and even-handedly” at this issue. He said that he was “truly sorry that [she] will regard the decision … as wrong” but his “objective duty is clear” and declared that the boys should indeed be vaccinated. The decision was made with the best interests of the children and the general public in mind, the Judge explained.

In February, Mr Justice MacDonald made a similar ruling when the London Borough of Barnet sought permission to vaccinate a seven month-old boy against his mother’s wishes.  In that case, the Judge ruled that the balance or risk “plainly favours immunisation”.

Read Re M and N in full here.

Photo by Dawn Huczek via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

View more from this author


Nemo Momenti - April 6, 2017 at 12:34pm

The important thing to note is that this is a matter of a judge settling a dispute between two parents who have differing views as to what is best for their child. It is not an overbearing and heavy-handed state forcing a child to be vaccinated against the wishes of two parents who are united in not wanting their child vaccinated.

keith - April 6, 2017 at 7:52pm

We can sympathize with this woman as we are Vegans too.
our two younger childen were taken off their Vegan lifestyle by the foster carer after making a bunch of excuses that it wasnt in their best interests. the hospital dietitian and the Social worker backed her up. we think it was more about kicking us in the teeth out of spite than anything else as our children had always been very healthy and thriving on a Vegan lifestyle. there is a misconception that its a diet as in restricting nutrition and calories etc but its not. whenever you feel hungry you eat its that simple. one of the worlds biggest Film directors James Cameron and all his family have been Vegan for 5 years the same as us and they have opened the worlds first Vegan school in the USA. Dr Michael Greger is one of the worlds top authorities on the Vegan lifestyle and shows why meat and Dairy are the worst things to put in your body. the data is there to see but i guess these judges and professionals would rather snub anything that seems to challenge the Norm. very sad indeed.

Andrew - April 8, 2017 at 6:44pm

The only thing wrong with this otherwise excellent judgment is that it does not lay enough stress on the obligation of parents to contribute to the herd immunity from which – as this foolish woman eventually admitted – her children will benefit.
In the absence of medical evidence that a particular vaccination would carry serious risk to a particular child, that child should have that vaccination; the health of the child and of the community outweigh whatever cranky views the parents have.
And applications like this should not go to the High Court. Jurisdiction should be conferred on the magistrates’ courts.

keith - April 9, 2017 at 7:57pm

“the health of the child and of the community outweigh whatever cranky views the parents have.”

your view seems to suggest that parents should not have the right to choose whats best for their children and should be decided by the Govt sounds more like a dictatorship than a democracy.
My partner and i have been Vegans for 5 yrs and we do not condone the killing of other living creatures for the purpose of food choices or for any type of medication etc. its our fundamental Right to make that choice and nobody should be criticizing us for it. to say things like the “cranky views the parents have” is just disgraceful and highly disrespectful to the Human Rights of other people.

Andrew - April 10, 2017 at 1:43pm

Keith: a high level of vaccination leads to “herd immunity” which benefits every child. Vaccinating your children (with a minute amount of animal-based material, I dare say) protects everyone’s children. That si why vaccinations should be compulsory unless a qualified specialist says they are contra-indicated for a particular child.
[*Comment edited – please see our moderation policy here]

Brian - April 16, 2017 at 10:49pm

Good call judge! His responsiblities went much further than the selfish, narrow minded and ill informed bad judgement exercised by the lettuce grazing vegan parent. Bad judgement probably induced by an acute protein intake deficit by not eating enough red meat! Being a parent in society brings with it “responsibilities” and ramifications far beyond “little Tarquin’s” “needs” and wayward alternative delusional concepts such as non existent parental “rights”. There is no such thing in law as “parents rights”. Parents have responsibilities for which discretion is given to meet those responsibilities by the ability for one to exercise one’s best judgement which can be deemed as reasonable in the circumstances…and reasonable isn’t determined by little Tarquin’s parent, it’s determined by the guy who frequently takes a journey on the Clapham omnibus…and judging by how long the guy’s been doing it, it’s about time he met his equal of the opposite sex to draw a more diverse reference from who should be his travelling companion…He might be gay or transsexual, so the remainder of the omnibus had better be populated with every LBGT permutation just to be safe…sod it, just charter the omnibus just to be sure everything is covered…or the “Human Rights” Brigade will leave their branding! Right, rights, rights, me, me, me, take, take, take…is this what our forefathers sacrificed themselves on the altar of freedom for? I wager no, they didn’t give their all for some to just come along, grab and take all!

Leave a comment