A mother took to Reddit a few days ago to complain that her 16-year-old daughter saved up her babysitting money to get herself vaccinated, against the wishes of her parents. The disgruntled mom was looking for legal advice to figure out who she could sue.
The post has since been removed — the original poster understandably took a lot of shrapnel. Luckily a sharp-eyed Tweeter was able to capture the post before it was deleted.
"None of my children are vaccinated," the mother writes, her hysteria almost palpable when you read the post. "Totally by accident I came to find out that my oldest daughter has been fully vaccinated... She admitted she went a clinics run for school aged children run by our local public health unit to get her shots and also got a few at a local walk-in clinic that are not yet publicly funded paid for with her babysitting money."
Pearls! Clutching! Horror! Get Jenny McCarthy on the line, stat!
Heartfelt LOLs aside, how about this girl, huh? All I ever wanted to buy with babysitting money was makeup. This girl's using her hard-earned cash to take charge of her health. Her parents must be doing something right.
The comments are full of the general angry anti-vaxxer reaction stuff you might expect, like this one from someone who calls themselves a "Fellow Canadian parent."
"You are not their overlord, you are their guardian," commenter heySMM writes. "This does not entitle you to harm them or attempt to bully or threaten medical staff into releasing her private records. Parents like you are why we HAVE those laws, so our kids can get preventive health care without having to depend on parental illusions of bodily property to be replaced with, you know, the reality of unplanned pregnancy or death & maiming by communicable disease."
Another commenter, JustSomeGuyNamedGreg, says he's a health care provider in Ontario who runs a vaccination clinic, and he provides some clear insight into the rights of all involved.
"In Ontario it is the responsibility of the clinician to decide if the client is making an informed and educated choice and is aware of the implications of any treatment or withholding treatment," Greg writes. "Chronological age is irrelevant."
In the U.S., the final authority to make medical decisions for minors primarily resides with the parents, according to the University of Washington School of Medicine. But in the case of teenagers who disagree with parents about established medical interventions like vaccines, it's the responsibility of the medical provider to advocate on behalf of the patient if they think they are fit to make competent decisions.
So if you're the kid of an anti-vaxxer in the U.S., it might be slightly more difficult to access treatment than just saving up babysitting money, but still well worth the effort.
Congratulations to this girl and her newly vaccinated self. And to all the families in her Ontario neighborhood, hire that girl to babysit more often! That girl's got a good head on her shoulders.
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