Is resolving a disagreement between parents as to whether to vaccinate a child against Covid too “political” to be decided? Three recent decisions tackle this issue. The Court may shield itself from making the bottom-line decision by deciding which parent should decide.
Should deciding who will be the decision-maker be the rule when parents disagree; or should parents be able to turn to the courts for the answer to one question without changing how they will make decisions on other questions in the future?
In other contexts, judges have been tasked with making literal life-and-death decisions. On occasion, they must decide whether to override the parents’ decision to discontinue life-sustaining treatment of their terminally ill minor child. See, Matter of DH, 15 Misc. 3d 565, 834 N.Y.S.2d 623 (Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. 2007). In Matter of Matthew V. (Lynette G.), 59 Misc. 3d 288, 68 N.Y.S.3d 796 (Fam. Ct. Kings Co. 2017), the Court transferred decision-making authority from the mother of a 14-year-old child to the child services agency for the purpose of consenting to chemotherapy treatment to which the mother was opposed.
However, there seems to be a different approach to resolving parental conflicts because of the current political climate.