Vaccination proponents and those who are against mandatory vaccinations (often called “anti-vaxxers”) have been all over the news. Celebrities and politicians have come out on both sides of the issue, making the debate very highly contested. For the most part, the issue of whether or not to vaccinate children was largely a philosophical discussion. This was especially true in child custody cases where parties shared joint legal custody. Typically, one parent would want to have a child vaccinated and another parent would not. The reasons for not wanting the vaccination could be medical, religious, or part of a philosophical objection often referred to as a personal belief exception.
This often left the court in the difficult spot of deciding whether the or not to order the vaccinations. In these cases, the child’s doctor might recommend the vaccination, but if the objection was religious or philosophical how was the court to decide?