State confiscates newborn over vaccinations
An organization that routinely deals with homeschooling issues across
the U.S. and around the globe is taking on a case of parental rights
because the circumstances – a social worker calling police over a
newborn’s shots – is just too egregious to let pass.
The announcement was made by Michael P. Farris, the chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, today.
“We are taking this case because we are tired of seeing the erosion
of parental rights in virtually every area of life. Parental rights in
medical cases have an impact on broader parental rights, including
educational decisions,” he said. “And the plain fact is this: If we
don’t fight for parental rights, it is probable that our rights will be
eroded bit by bit until there is nothing that remains.”
He said the organization was not using its normal membership revenue
from homeschooling families to fund the new fight, and said supporters were being directed to a special freedom fund mechanism on the HSDLA website.
He said among the issues in the case: social service workers who
called police when a new mother wanted tests before authorizing shots
for her child, a hospital that ejected the new mom from its property
over the issue, a social service “investigation” into the birth, and
The HSLDA’s Farris reported on the situation involving the couple named Scott and Jodi Ferris.
Jodi had gone into labor early and the midwife they had hoped would
deliver their baby encouraged them to head to a hospital. They did.
“Their baby, whom I will call ‘Annie,’ was born in the ambulance in
the parking lot of the Hershey Medical Center – a government hospital in
Pennsylvania. Hospital personnel arrived very quickly and took charge
of both baby and mom,” he reported.
But when Jodi asked nurses about her baby, “the hospital staff was
utterly unresponsive. When they started to give Jodi an injection, she
asked what it was and what is was for. They gave her vague answers like,
‘It’s just to help.’”
Farris said eventually a physician told Jodi her baby scored a 9 on a
physical exam applied to newborns known as the APGAR test, where a
score of 8 or higher is considered healthy.
But then another doctor said the baby was “very sick” and would need to stay in the hospital.
Continuing the back-and-forth, another hospital staffer then said the
baby was doing good but that was followed several hours later by a
worker who told the couple their baby must stay in the hospital for 48
to 72 hours.
“‘The law requires us to keep the baby for 48 hours,’” they were
told, according to the HSLDA, which noted there is no such law in
WND could not reach hospital officials for comment tonight.
Ultimately, a hospital “risk management” staff member admitted that
the risk that was being managed was not the health of the child, but the
risk that the hospital might get sued if something went wrong after the
baby was released.
Then, according to the HSLDA, “a government social worker named
Angelica Lopez-Heagy came into Jodi’s room announcing that she was there
to conduct an investigation. Jodi asked to know the allegations. The
social worker claimed that it would be against the law for her to show
Jodi the allegations.
“Jodi replied that she would not be comfortable answering the
questions if she couldn’t know the allegations. Immediately the social
worker proclaimed, ‘Since you’re not going to cooperate, I’ll just go
and call the police and we can take custody of the baby.’”
The mixups just wouldn’t quit. When Jodi said she was cooperating,
the social worker implied the issue was Jodi’s refusal to consent to a
vitamin K shot for the baby.
“Jodi replied that no one had asked her about such a shot. Moreover,
she had overheard hospital staffers saying that they had already given
Annie such a shot,” the report said.
Then, when Scott left the hospital to tend to their older children,
hospital officials demanded permission to give Annie a Hepatitis B shot.
“Jodi said that she would agree only if they tested her or Annie to
see if either of them were positive. If so, then she was quite willing
to have the shot for Annie. The hospital claimed that they had forgotten
about this earlier when it was still possible to test that day, and
that they needed to give the shot anyway without any testing,” HSLDA
Jodi asked if the decision could wait until her husband returned.
“Put yourself in Jodi’s shoes at this moment,” Farris wrote. “You
gave birth that morning in an ambulance. The hospital has made wild and
conflicting claims about your baby’s health all day long. You are
exhausted. You are in pain. Your husband has gone to check on your
children. And a social worker who has threatened to take your baby into
police custody is standing in your hospital room demanding that you make
an immediate decision.”
Then, he reported, “the story turns ugly.”
“The social worker left the room and called the police. Without a
court order they took custody of Annie, immediately claiming that she
was suffering from illness or injury – a patently false claim. The
social worker consented to the administration of the Hepatitis B shot
even though no blood test had been done,” he reported.
“The police made Jodi Ferris get up out of her hospital bed and
escorted her to the entrance – they were expelling her from the hospital
because she had not signed the ‘safety plan.’”
She was escorted off the hospital grounds.
But she had been told she could return every three hours to nurse the
baby, so the couple was forced to spend the night in a car in the
parking lot of a nearby Wal-Mart.
“You read that right. They kicked this mother out of the hospital,
and in order to be close enough to feed her child, she had to sleep in
the car,” Farris reported.
A hearing the next morning returned the baby to her parents immediately.
“It is not a crime to ask questions about the well-being of your
child. It is not a crime to ask for testing to ensure that a procedure
is needed before it is done. It is not a crime to be a protective mom,”
“Both the medical personnel and the social worker engaged in
outrageous behavior toward this family. And we believe that they
violated their rights under the Constitution of the United States. And
we are going to court to prove it,” Farris said.
“The social worker’s priority was not the welfare of Annie, but her
own convenience and her own perception of her power. She was aiming to
teach this homeschooling mother a lesson. And the hospital was clearly
not concerned that Annie had a medical issue – they were just trying to
avoid being sued for medical malpractice.
“When government workers run over parents in cases like this, the lesson that needs to be taught is to the government,” he said.
It was just a day earlier when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to
intervene in another case involving parental rights fought by the HSLDA.
In that case, Arizona deputies threatened parents with the forced
removal of their five children unless they agreed to let social workers,
who did not have a warrant or probable case, search their home.
The stunning conclusion came in a lawsuit brought on behalf of John
and Tiffany Loudermilk, who sued officials after a confrontation at
their Maricopa County, Ariz., home in 2005.
A district court judge ruled a reasonable person would believe the
Loudermilks’ decision to allow social workers to search their home was
coerced, in violation of the 4th Amendment. But the 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals said the search was proper.
The case may not be finished, as the opinion from the 9th Circuit was
unpublished, which means that it is not binding on future cases. Also,
when the deputies appealed to the 9th Circuit for immunity, the social
workers who also were sued did not, and that part of the case remains on
hold at the district court level.
James Mason, chief counsel for the HSLDA, which brought the case on
behalf of the family, told WND that the group will consult with the
family and soon make a determination on the next step.
But he said the result is disappointing, because no matter the status
of the appeal, the situation did develop, and the threats were made to
give the social workers what they wanted.
The case developed after a still-anonymous tipster told authorities
that there was a danger to the children in the new home. Two months
later, social services workers Rhonda Cash and Jenna Cramer arrived
unannounced at the home and explained that it was an emergency because
social workers decided it was an emergency at that point.
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