Parentectomy: The State-Driven Campaign to Remove Parents' Rights

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Eight states currently permit minors to be vaccinated without parental consent; 20 states -- Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia -- have made allowances for "mature minors" as young as age 12

After giving birth to her fifth child in 2018, Angela Bougher and her husband -- a suburban Chicago pastor -- were eager to hold their new baby girl. However, according to the couple, their newborn daughter was removed from their custody after they verbalized their intention to decline the vitamin K shot.1

The Boughers allege that instead of allowing them to sign a waiver form for the shot, as was previously agreed to, the nurse declared that she was reporting the couple to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and left the room with their newborn.2 According to the Boughers -- who declined the vitamin K injection based on their religious beliefs -- the hospital took possession of their daughter for about 12 hours before she was returned to them.3

The incident highlights the contentious debate that exists today over the rights of parents to make decisions about their children's healthcare.

From the Womb to the Courtroom

In September 2019, the Boughers and several other parents filed a sweeping federal class-action lawsuit for violating their constitutional rights right after the births of their children. The lawsuit targets multiple hospitals, the Illinois DCFS, and individual doctors accused of conspiring to remove newborns through coercion and intimidation.4

Recordings from a committee meeting reinforce claims that doctors and DCFS case workers colluded to use the courts and hospital policies as a means of taking custody of newborns from parents who specifically refuse vitamin K.5 The claims did not mention parents' concerns over a manufacturer's black box warning noting that severe reactions, including fatalities, can occur during and immediately after injecting newborns with vitamin K.6 A growing number of scientists and medical providers also contend that the aluminum levels in vitamin K are concerning .7

The Erosion of Parental Autonomy

As states across the nation roll out legislation to remove religious exemptions to vaccine mandates, dangerous language is also being written into bills to further erode parental rights. This is a particularly dangerous slippery slope, as it threatens parental rights and informed consent rights while endangering the sanctity of the parent-child relationship.

The erosion of parental autonomy has been on a fast track for at least a decade, coming full circle for exposure when Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) medically kidnapped Justina Pelletier, a teen from Connecticut.8 The 16-month tug-of-war between Justina's parents, Massachusetts state officials and doctors -- along with reports of Justina's "torture" and confinement to a psychiatric ward -- led to social media outrage, which turned into international scrutiny of what has long been standard procedure for big medical institutions. The tyranny imposed on families now had a name, as described by the physicians at BCH: parentectomy.

The Pelletier case drew intense scrutiny and attention from Massachusetts lawmakers. Unfortunately, Justina's story didn't stop Massachusetts lawmakers from recently adding in "mature minor" language to proposed legislation to remove religious exemptions to mandatory vaccines for school attendance.9 Sewn into the proposed legislation is language declaring doctors and "mature minors" in charge of all health decisions.10 This is another classic example of parentectomy, just in a different form.

Under the proposed legislation, Massachusetts parents would not be notified if their child received one or more vaccines, nor would the vaccine(s) administered be listed in the child's medical records.

According to the bill:

All information and records kept in connection with the medical or dental care of a minor who consents thereto in accordance with this section shall be confidential between the minor and the physician or dentist, and shall not be released except upon the written consent of the minor or a proper judicial order. When the physician or dentist

attending a minor reasonably believes the condition of said minor to be so serious that his life or limb is endangered, the physician or dentist shall notify the parents, legal guardian or foster parents of said condition and shall inform the minor of said notification.11

This leaves children and their parents in a particularly vulnerable position. If a child is vaccinated without a parent's knowledge and consent, the parent is missing crucial pieces of information that make up the child's complete medical history.12 This could lead a parent to unnecessarily repeat the vaccination(s) in the future, causing the child to be over-vaccinated and to experience potentially unwanted and permanent side effects. Additionally, if a parent has no knowledge that a child has been vaccinated, the parent cannot look out for potential adverse events and would be unable to link any adverse events the child might experience to the vaccine that was administered. This scenario could lead parents on a time-consuming, dead-end search to discover the cause of their child's medical symptoms.

Lowering the Age of Consent

Legislative analysts predict that several states will file bills in 2020 to reduce the "age of consent" to allow children to get vaccinated without parental consent. Currently, most states remain at 18 for the age of consent, but nearly 20 states -- Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia -- have made allowances for "mature minors" as young as age 12.

Minors in the Driver's Seat

Eight states currently permit minors to be vaccinated without parental consent. Here is what minors can consent to in those states.

  • Alabama - Children 14 and older can consent to any healthcare service.
  • Alaska - Children of any age can consent to any healthcare service.
  • California - Children ages 12 and older can receive vaccines related to STDs without parental oversight.
  • Delaware - Children 12 and older can receive vaccines related to STDs without parental oversight.
  • Idaho - Children of any age can consent to any healthcare service except abortion.
  • Minnesota - Children of any age can receive the hepatitis B vaccine without their parents' permission.
  • Oregon - Children 15 and older can consent to any healthcare service.
  • South Carolina - Children 16 and older can consent to any healthcare service.

Legislators contend that such measures are needed to protect public health, and that sentiment is echoed in media reports nationwide. An opinion piece published in the Chicago Sun Times pushed for changing the state law to allow 12 year olds to override their parents to get vaccinated.13 In it, the author says, "Parents' resistance to vaccinations was once typically rooted in religious convictions. In recent decades, too many parents have made irresponsible decisions because they believe anti-vaccine myths or think the government is overreaching by requiring vaccinations. This is now part of our broader culture wars."14

According to independent research and a report from The Pew Charitable Trusts, eight U.S. states allow minors to receive vaccines without their parents' permission.15 Of these states, three permit adolescents to receive vaccines that target sexually transmittable diseases (STDs), while five allow minors to consent to any healthcare intervention, including vaccination.16

The same language involving the term "mature minor" is being aggressively added to new bills concerning vaccine mandates. The language essentially stipulates that children who are considered "mature" should be permitted to make their own healthcare decisions without giving notice to their parents.

Not only does this doctrine undermine parental rights, it creates a plethora of questions: is a medical provider (who may or may not know a child well) best suited to ascertain his/her maturity, what criteria will the provider use to establish that maturity, and is there a conflict of interesting in making the "mature minor" designation if the provider is ultimately benefitting from that designation? Moreover, some argue that allowing a doctor to decide which minor patients are mature enough to choose or reject healthcare treatments gives that doctor undue decision-making authority.

Legislating the Role of Parents

Absent from the discussion is the decades-long trend to continually broaden the number of vaccinations given and the age at which those vaccinations are given. Since 1986, there has been more than a three-fold increase in the number of vaccines on the U.S. childhood vaccine schedule -- representing a dramatic departure from most of our First World peers.17 As the recommended doses have increased, so has the number of parents who want to opt out of one, some or all vaccines based on religious, philosophical, or medical reasons.

However, federal lawmakers and numerous states are aggressively working to remove vaccine exemptions and override parents' healthcare decisions. With the media pushing a pejorative narrative that declares vaccine hesitancy a top global health threat, adolescents and families are being put into the precarious position of having to stand firm in their natural rights against an agenda that is positioned and ready to undermine parental authority.

The underlying agenda is to suggest that the real problem lies with the parents -- as they are the obstacle standing in between children and compliance with vaccine recommendations. Thus, the push is to "take parents out of the equation," as one DC lawmaker relayed.

The narrative to support these legislative efforts is that parents are incapable of making important medical decisions for their children -- so the state needs to do it for them via medical mandates. The thrust of their claim: The state knows what's best for your family -- the state is omnipotent.

Informed Refusal

Informed consent is not the standard with childhood vaccines. Instead the CDC has led charge that has given way to the notion of informed refusal.18 The narrative circulating in regards to parents who refuse even a single vaccine for their child is that they are refusing medical treatment and are therefore negligent. In 2019, we saw one of the biggest assaults ever on religious freedom, informed consent rights, and parental rights. It's not a coincidence that the bills introduced in states across the United States contain similar, if not identical, language. This represents a threat to all U.S. families and citizens, with a totalitarianism agenda being pushed through under the guise of overriding parental rights for the sake of protecting the "rights of the child."

Standing Up for Your Family's Health

From coast to coast, parents are in the throes of standing in their parental authority in the face of forced vaccination. Bills threatening to degrade parental autonomy with crafty language slipped in to lower the age of consent for vaccine decisions are of utmost concern for the 2020 state legislative sessions. Some state lawmakers are acknowledging they were surprised to find language in proposed legislation that would compromise their own parental rights.

The time to stand for our civil and religious liberties, particularly parental rights, is now. Laws are being drafted with the intention of removing parents from vaccine decision-making and the discussion surrounding it. The only way to counter these efforts is to be a part of the solution. Stand firm in your natural rights as a parent. Recognize that when it comes to your family's health, the state's role is to make healthcare accessible, not to force pharmaceutical products on your child (or any other unwitting population).

Most of all, get involved -- sooner rather than later. Any time liberties are taken away it requires Herculean efforts to restore them. So it's best to protect your rights while you still have them.


1. Cherney, E. and Coen, J. (September 24, 2019). Doctors took a newborn baby from her parents after they refused a vitamin K shot for her. Now the couple is suing the hospital and DCFS. Chicago Tribune. Available at: (Accessed: December 12, 2019.)

2. See no. 1.

3. See no. 1.

4. West, P. (October 5, 2019). Newborns' removal after refusal of optional shot raises parental rights concerns. Catholic News Agency. Available at: (Accessed: December 12, 2019.)

5. Fox, M. (Nov. 12, 2019). Doctors Caught on Tape Plotting to Take Custody of Newborns Whose Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots. PJ Media. Available at: to-take-custody-of-newborns-whose-parents-refuse-vitamin-k-shots (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019).

6. Merck & Co. Inc., 2002 AquaMEPHYTON package insert. Available at: (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019.)

7. McFarland, G.; La Joie, E.; Thomas, P.; and Lyons-Weiler, J. Acute exposure and chronic retention of aluminum in three vaccine schedules and effects of genetic and environmental variation. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, Volume 58. (March 2020). Available at: S0946672X19305784 (Accessed Dec. 12, 2019.)

8. Levenson, M. (Feb. 25, 2016). Parents of Justina Pelletier sue Boston Children's Hospital. Boston Globe. Available at: (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019.)

9. An Act Promoting Community Immunity - H4096 (Massachusetts 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts). Available at: (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019.)

10. See no. 9, H4096 p. 7, line 115.

11. See no. 9, H4096, p.8, lines 119-22.

12. Nickless, G. and Davies, R. (February 16, 2016). How to take an accurate and detailed medication history. The Pharmaceutical Journal. Available at: (Accessed Dec. 12, 2019.)

13. Garcia, M. (May 9, 2019). Allow Kids to Get Vaccinations Without Parental Consent. Chicago Sun Times. Available at: (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019.)

14. See no. 12.

15. Ollove, M. (June 24, 2019). Teens of 'Anti-Vaxxers' Can Get Their Own Vaccines, Some States Say. PEW Stateline. Available at: (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019.)

16. See no. 14.

17. Vaccination Schedule Recommended by the Japan Pediatrics Society. (Aug 1, 2018). Japan Pediatric Society. Available at: (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019.)

18. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Conflicts Between Religious or Spiritual Beliefs and Pediatric Care: Informed Refusal, Exemptions, and Public Funding. (November 2013). Pediatrics -- Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Available at: 2716 (Accessed: Dec. 12, 2019.)

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