Vaccination Battles in Court – When Children are Collateral

An alarming trend seems to be emerging within our country – and the rest of the world – and one which I think all members need to be aware of.

Several people have contacted us recently, concerned that their ex-spouses or partners are taking them to court in an attempt to have their unvaccinated children, vaccinated. Thus far, to our knowledge, the court has never ruled in the non-vaccinator’s favour, and always that the children must be vaccinated (often in one large cluster within a short period of time on a ‘catch-up’ schedule – hugely increasing the burden on the immune system and the dangers posed!). This despite the fact that in this country, vaccination is still a choice, and not remotely mandatory. There is no doubt in my mind, or that of many others involved, that this is being used as a tool of manipulation to play ‘good parent/bad parent’ and add weight to the vaccinator’s custody case when relationships with children involved are splitting – with the children being used as collateral with no respect for their health outcomes. The parent wanting the children vaccinated is not doing it out of concern for his or her children, but rather as a way of building their case and ‘getting back at’ their ex-partner. A judge is unlikely to rule against Ministry of Health guidelines (i.e. ‘get your children vaccinated like a good Mummy or Daddy’) so this is a great weapon in the dirty fight that can take place around custody.

Our advice, for the interim: Know your facts, and know them well, if you choose not to vaccinate. Have a good reference library sorted with factual information you can back yourself up with should you need it (in a matter such as this, or any other). Read widely from scientific journals. Talk things through thoroughly with your partner, have a non-vaccination agreement in writing if you can, and ensure you’re both on the same page, and that any doubts from either side may be answered – the easiest way to avoid a battle such as this in the event that things turn sour, is to both be in firm agreeance on your decision, so it never turns into a legal weapon in the first place!!

If anybody has any experience with this – either lawyers or parents, whether you’ve ‘won’ or ‘lost’ the case – we’d love to hear from you.

Here’s a written statement from one such parent in Ireland we came across recently, pasted in full (proving this is, indeed, a global trend):

My name is Claire O’ Sullivan from Waterford in Ireland. I’d like to make a statement.

I have a 5 year old son. I am currently hiding away with my son to protect him from the authorities ( HSE, Gardaí, courts etc.) because of the, illegal, unlawful, uncaring and heavy handed way I have been dealt with by the authorities, which has all stemmed from me not consenting to the school age vaccinations (MMR {measles, mumps & rubella}, & tetra vac 4in1 {polio, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus}). I do have genuine concerns about these vaccinations, following my own research and listening to the views of many others including medical professionals

Who have shared some of these concerns with me, for example about the possible links with autism, for which there is now credible evidence and the long term effects on children’s immune systems. A good place for most people to start, would be to ask the HSE or GP for the insert leaflet that comes with the box that the vaccination is contained with and taking the simple step of looking at the ingredients and what the medical officials call side effects, which are quite simply possible serious effects. This is just one place to start with research.

These vaccinations are NOT mandatory in the republic of Ireland. All parents are given a consent form to sign in a consent or “I do not consent section”. I chose not to consent, I feel that I am acting in the best interests of my child and my decision is to protect him. I have every right to make this decision as the primary carer, natural mother, sole custodian and legal guardian of my son. However, my son’s father (who is not a custodian, but a legal guardian, (ex-partner), has consented to both vaccinations and has pushed for them to be administered. His motives for which I believe are more for argument sake with me and not for the best interests/protection of our son (which many will believe) .this may become clearer as I explain further what has happened so far.

So when the vaccinations were due to be carried out first of all, there was some communication between myself, HSE and my son’s father re; me not consenting to the vaccinations. There was minimal communication between his father and I (the father’s choice) as he was not willing to discuss the matter in full with me with an open mind, willing to consider all aspects surrounding the vaccinations e.g. Documents released, evidence, studies from other parties (outside of the HSE), vaccine ingredients etc. He was insisting to go ahead with it because it was what HE felt was best and because the HSE and my son’s GP had recommended for the vaccines to be administered, he felt he didn’t have to look into it further.

Consider this scenario:

If someone handed you a drink and said give this to your child to drink, Would you (1) give it without question, or would you want to know more about what it contains (for your child’s safety) and make a decision either (2) not to give it at all (because of lack of knowledge and trust) or (3) decide to investigate the ingredients further with an open mind.

I at the time was torn between (2) and (3) because of some conflicting information I had come across and I still am. However, I also believe whole heartedly in the most natural approach possible to health care, which immediately people will recognise this as a problem for authorities (for reasons, we can go into further, if I am asked at a later stage, once my son’s case has been dealt with).

So I insisted that I did not consent and my son’s father insisted that he did consent, and I feel it is most unfortunate that he was unwilling to further his own research on the issue. Keep in mind that this is not mandatory, despite my attempts to press him to do so.

Some weeks later, I had received contact from my son’s father asking me was I going to go ahead with the vaccinations or not. I reminded him that I did not consent and that the authorities had this on file. He replied, that I had left him with no choice, when I asked what he meant by this, he did not reply. The next contact I received about the issue was to my horror, a summons to the district court. I had adjourned the first date and there was a new date set for the 23rd of May.

When I attended on that date, (we both represented ourselves) I was refused the company of a McKenzie friend in the court (this is a basic right, everyone is entitled to be accompanied by a McKenzie friend, but I was denied this). I asked the judge to allow the issue to be dealt with outside of court and for the father to co-parent as this should be a family decision and it is wrong for the courts to be involved in it. The father argued that he had been willing to discuss but I insisted to the judge that he hadn’t and that he was lying. So I requested that the judge allow us time to discuss the issue in private. The judge granted this, but we had to return to inform him what had been discussed. Outside of the court room, but still on site, I had asked the father to discuss the matter with me on mutual ground and tried to persuade him that it be best if we set a date and time or we could even leave the courts and deal with it ourselves that same day, in private. To which he would not agree, he insisted that the matter was that he wanted the vaccinations and I didn’t so it was to be heard in court that we didn’t need to discuss it further. I appealed to him that I had major concerns re: ingredients of the vaccinations and that I had spoken to the GP Dr. Cormac O’ Nuailain and he could not answer some of my questions. I asked him did this not concern him and what questions had he asked? But he replied that he didn’t care and that he was happy with the fact that the HSE were recommending it and that was all he needed to know. He insisted that we go back into the court room to have it heard.

To cut a long story short with how it was dealt with on this particular occasion, Judge David Kennedy refused to allow me have the right to hold my decision as the natural mother/guardian/custodian of my son and took the position to make a decision on my son’s behalf against my will. He proceeded to sign the order; I insisted that he sign a disclaimer to at least accept responsibility for his actions to sign the order against my will. He refused to look at my disclaimer, he even laughed at me and the father laughed at me. He signed it despite me still questioning him on his decision and said it’s signed now, so you can appeal it with the circuit court.

I appealed the case with the circuit court. I served a notice of appeal on the father. The courts office informed me that there was no further date for hearing in the circuit court until the autumn (more like November). I was told I would be given sufficient notice, but that the order still stands even though a notice of appeal has been filed. So, moving forward, on the 7th of June, I had received a letter in the post, to notify me to be in court the very next day. On the 8th June. I was unprepared, no representation and had no arrangements made for childcare, work, other issues. So I had asked a solicitor to ask for an adjournment due to the severe short notice of less than 24hrs. (If I had been away, I would have missed the date, been marked as a no show, and my appeal would not have been heard). Judge faherty on this day granted the appeal to be adjourned to the 14th June, the following week. I had time to get legal representation then because of this.

On the 14th of June, my solicitor and Barrister presented the case to Judge Alice Doyle of the Circuit court in Clonmel. Extensive paperwork from the barrister was discussed between the judge and the barrister on legal acts and statutes and the constitution to prove that the courts had no jurisdiction to interfering this case. The judge expressed that she felt constrained by the law to act in what SHE felt was the best interests of the child, and decided to rise on it and look at the paperwork that the barrister had provided. What I understood from what she said was that she was taking a personal stance on the matter and not acting impartially for both parties (which is what a Judge is supposed to do). She even asked me did I know someone with Polio because she did and it’s a horrible disease. I did not know at the time, but since then I have become aware of a gentleman who is wheelchair bound from the age of 7 following his polio vaccination… but however, on this day the legal issue and constitution was what the barrister wanted to address and we felt that the judge would have allowed another hearing for another date (full day) to address the issues surrounding the vaccinations. The judge however made what appeared to be a personal judgement to affirm the order from the district court and even advised the father to get legal aid as he may need to be more prepared if we were to seek further remedy via Judicial review. On this day, I was under duress to decide and make judge and father aware of my plans to either pursue judicial review or not, to suit father. So, due to lack of options at the time and the fact that the legal team had told me that it could cost me tens of thousands to pursue, I was forced to say that I was unable to pursue, solely due to financial difficulty.

Over the weekend 16th& 17th June, I was made aware that I do have further option to represent myself and present papers for grounds of judicial review, relief sought and compiled an affidavit to accompany this to tell my side of the story of the unjust decisions that took place in both district and then circuit court. I decided to go ahead with this as my son’s safety is paramount to me and I felt that I would regret it if I hadn’t tried to protect him further. So on Monday 18th I presented myself to the high courts and made an application to which I was refused and the legal acts/statutes plus article 41.1.1 from the constitution was ignored and I was turned away. I was expected to be back in Waterford from Dublin within ten minutes to carry out the order to vaccinate my son. I was completely distraught and shocked by the decision and wanted to still pursue it further and continued to receive legal/lawful advice on the matter. The courts were acting illegally and more importantly – unlawfully going by all of the advice that I had been given, my belief as a mother to the right to protect my child and I believed that the courts were violating the constitution which was a huge issue and I didn’t understand why and I still don’t.

I returned to Waterford to be with my son and decided it was best to take us both away from the situation and spend some time together while I was deciding how best to press the matter further. To my disbelief, I had been told that the Gardaí had instantly begun harassing my family and friends as to where my location is with Thomas, even though I had passed message on that I was overwhelmed and was just taking a few days away with my son while I was thinking of what to do further on with the courts. I did not want to give up on my fight to my right and my son’s right for me as his natural mother to protect him. The police have also gained entry to my house illegally/unlawfully and not only that but they have allowed family, other associates and my ex-partner enter the house while doing so. They did not have permission to enter my home. I believed they used my families’ vulnerable emotional nature to suit themselves to gain entry to my home. Do they not realise that this behaviour has worried me even more for my son’s safety and our rights are being violated. Everyone involved is terrified.

So the position that I am in now is that I am in even more fear than before for safety of everyone involved and my family and friends are under constant harassment. This should not be happening, nobody should be put in this position of fear and have their rights violated.

I want the public to know my side of the story and the extent of the situation. We need to support each other to ensure our families are safe and hopefully I will get Justice

signed: Claire O’ Sullivan

22/06/12