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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Parents' court battle over MMR jab
The case centres on the MMR jab
The case centres on the MMR jab
A mother is being taken to the High Court by her ex-husband over her refusal to allow their child to have the controversial MMR vaccination.

In the case, believed to be the first of its kind, a judge will decide if the child should be vaccinated.

The mother, who works as a midwife, says she believes the safest thing is for her child not to be immunised with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, but to live amongst children who are.

Her former husband is adamant the child should receive the vaccination.


This may seem selfish but this is what is in the best interests of my child and not society at large

Mother
The case is being heard at Winchester Crown Court by Mr Justice Sumner, who normally sits at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

None of those involved can be named for legal reasons.

There has been concern in recent months as MMR vaccination rates have fallen to 84%.

Health officials warn measles cases could soar as immunisation rates fall.

Earlier this week, the British Medical Association asked its officials to consider the pros and cons of mandatory vaccinations.

'Parental choice'

But the woman involved in the court case, who is in her 30s, says her child should not have any vaccinations.

She told the Daily Mail newspaper: "I can understand a child's right to health but it is abhorrent that a court can decide if my child should be vaccinated.

"What about parental choice?

"I think the safest thing for my child is to be unvaccinated in a society of vaccinated children."

She added: "I'm aware this may seem selfish but this is what is in the best interests of my child and not society at large."

The woman, who lives in southern England, said the concerns over links between the MMR vaccine and autism had added to her concerns.

She was inoculated as a child, but now believes in holistic and natural childcare.

"I had my daughter at home. I decided before she was born how I would raise her and that she would not be vaccinated.

She met her former husband in California.

He is believed to be unemployed and receiving legal aid for the case.

Leanne Weatherill, the solicitor representing the mother in the case was contacted by BBC News Online, but declined to comment.

The hearing is expected to last for a week.

See also:

03 Jul 02 | UK Politics
03 Jul 02 | BMA Conference
02 Jul 02 | BMA Conference
12 Jun 02 | Health
29 Jun 02 | Health
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