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Federal judge blocks D.C. law that allowed children to “consent” to vaccinations without parental knowledge


In response to lawsuits brought by two families against the D.C. government, a federal district judge has issued an injunction prohibiting all D.C. public and private schools from vaccinating any minor children without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

Quick Facts

The law, known as the D.C. Minor Consent Act (MCA), went into effect in December 2020. It not only allowed children as young as 11 years old to “consent” to being vaccinated, but it also put in place measures designed to deceive parents if they had filed a religious exemption for their child.

If those children “consented” to take a vaccination despite the exemption request, physicians were legally required to hide that information from the child’s parents, first by leaving the vaccination off of the child’s immunization record and then by sending the vaccination record directly to the school and bypassing the parent. Moreover, a bill for the vaccine was also directly sent to the parents’ insurance company, but the insurance provider could not send a corresponding explanation of benefits notification to the parents letting them know the reason for the payment.

Two D.C. families who objected to vaccinating their children on religious grounds filed a lawsuit against Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. government, claiming that the law contradicts the federal National Vaccine Injury Act (NVIA) of 1986 and violates the free exercise to religion guaranteed under the First Amendment, as well as the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). One of the plaintiffs also claimed that the law violated his procedural due process rights, as well as his parental rights to make medical decisions for his child.

Judge Trevor McFadden of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia agreed, granting an injunction based on, among other standards, the plaintiffs’ likelihood of prevailing on their arguments that the MCA is preempted by federal law and that it violates the plaintiff’s rights of religious freedom and that allowing the law to remain in effect would cause irreparable harm.

McFadden noted that thanks to pressure from within the schools and the fact that vaccine clinics existed inside of schools and nearby, children were very likely to give in and receive the vaccines against their parents’ wishes.

McFadden said, “States and the District are free to encourage individuals—including children—to get vaccines. But they cannot transgress on the Program [the NVIA] Congress created. And they cannot trample on the Constitution.”

Moreover, he countered the District’s contention that blocking the law would hurt the school’s ability to obtain herd immunity through vaccination by stating, “The only impact will be that children will be unable to decide to get vaccinations without their parents’ consent.”

Rolf Hazlehurst, senior staff attorney for Children’s Health Defense, which argued the case for one of the two families, said of the judge’s decision, “This is a major legal victory for children, parental rights, and informed consent. Government overreach such as this has dire implications for children’s health and the constitutional rights of citizens.”

Today’s government and school officials truly believe that they not only know more about children than a child’s own parents but that they also care more than those parents. This particular law makes this mindset very obvious.  

However, the way this law has been carried out in real-life also shows that government and D.C. officials not only don’t care more about children than their parents, they care less — significantly less.

Just look at the steps schools took to coerce children into “consenting” to a COVID-19 vaccination. Every day they went to school, students were subjected to “an intense vaccine marketing campaign” that included “billboards, posters, fliers, printed ads, online ads, websites with links, emails, Twitter, and other forms of mass media.”

Schools also used a carrot-and-stick approach to ratchet up the pressure on children to take the jab. Students were bribed to give their consent with rewards such as “gift cards, ear buds, and chances to win iPads, $25,000 scholarships, and other prizes.” Students who didn’t give their consent were banned from playing basketball with their vaccinated classmates, for example, or forced to stay home and quarantine if their teacher tested positive for COVID-19, while vaccinated children were given a pass and able to continue normal, everyday activities.

How did this affect unvaccinated children trying to obey their parents? One of the plaintiffs’ children, a medically fragile boy with an autoimmune disease and allergies, responded with this drawing:  

Moreover, if any child gave into the pressure and took the vaccine, the parents would be completely in the dark about the reality and risks to which their child had unknowingly consented.

If the child started having an anaphylactic or other adverse reaction such as myocarditis, how could the parent know it was vaccine-related? Would the child tell the parent that they had taken the jab at school, or would they hide it because they thought their parents would be angry or disappointed? Would the child even be able to recognize that the vaccine — which can affect people weeks after it’s been administered — was what had caused their symptoms? Could the parent give a doctor the information needed to successfully treat the reaction?

Moreover, parents have a legal right to make a claim to receive compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Fund on behalf of their child, but speed is of the essence. How and why would they apply to such a fund if don’t even know that their child’s injuries were caused by a vaccine or have the paperwork showing when and by whom a vaccine had been administered? That could result in ultimately receiving no redress if the child was badly injured by a vaccine, but does anyone believe that the school officials who pressured the child into the situation would voluntarily step up to provide the physical, emotional, and financial care that a vaccine-injured child would need?

Hardly. School and government officials want the authority of a parent without the responsibility. They have no business coming between a child and their parent, weakening the relationship, and leaving the child vulnerable to consequences they can’t possibly understand.

The judge was wise in recognizing the damage this law is doing — and probably has already done — to parental rights, the well-being of children, and religious liberty. Hopefully, more judges will step up to protect children from imperious, meddling government authorities who claim to know best, but almost always ends up causing more harm than good.

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