DC Lawsuit Decision Delayed for More Evidence

Parental Rights Foundation president Jim Mason presented oral arguments before a federal court on September 2 in the matter of our lawsuit against the District of Columbia to halt its Minor Consent to Vaccination Act of 2020.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the court stated that it would like to hear more evidence on how parents’ rights are being violated now that the schools are opened. We and our clients were given 30 days to amend our complaint on the basis of the new evidence we may gather in that time.

Of course, we would have preferred for the court to credit our argument that the parent’s rights are already being violated and rule in our favor.  But the issue that concerned the judge is whether the statute as written causes the kind of harm that federal courts are empowered to address. The technical legal phrase is whether the plaintiffs have standing, which requires a concrete harm that has occurred or is imminent and not merely speculative.

Now that schools are in session for in-person classes, we are gathering evidence about what the schools are actually doing, which was not available before the hearing.

In the meantime, DC children attending public schools can—right on many, if not all, school campuses—get a medical procedure that their parents have already exempted them out of on sincerely held religious grounds. DC has granted parents the right to opt out with one hand and has taken away that right with the other.

Parents will likely never know if their rights were violated in this way. That’s because the law includes requirements that the clinic, school, and even your insurance carrier keep parents (and often, by extension, primary care physicians) completely in the dark about the child’s decision—even after the fact!

Leading up to the September 2 hearing, the Foundation and plaintiffs families charged that the DC law violates parents’ rights under the Constitution and as provided for in federal and other DC law. In response, the defendants moved for summary dismissal, meaning they asked the court to deny the parents standing and just dismiss the case.

Our full complaint is available here, and our response to the motion to dismiss is available here.

We will continue to work with parents and other concerned parties in the district to protect children from facing potentially life-changing medical decisions without the guidance and support of their loving parents, by presenting our best possible case to the court in October.

In the meantime, please continue to stand with us by giving to support the Foundation at ParentalRightsFoundation.org/donate and by spreading word of this case to your family and friends.

Together we can push back against the onslaught of government intrusion. Together we can keep our children safe.


Michael Ramey
Executive Director