Manhattan judge strips father of visitation rights with daughter over unvaccinated status

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended and transformed society in so many ways, particularly now that vaccines have been added into the equation, and often not for the better.

A bitter custody dispute in Manhattan, New York has resulted in a judge stripping a father of visitation rights with his 3-year-old daughter due to his unvaccinated status, local CBS affiliate WLNY reported.

The judge told the unnamed father that his visitation rights with his own daughter could be restored if he received a vaccine or submitted to a weekly testing regimen.

Judge offers choice

The New York Post reported that Justice Matthew Cooper wrote in his Oct. 7 ruling, “Here, in-person parental access by defendant is not in the child’s best interests, and there are exceptional circumstances that support its suspension.”

“The dangers of voluntarily remaining unvaccinated during access with a child while the COVID-19 virus remains a threat to children’s health and safety cannot be understated,” the judge continued.

Per the ruling, the father must either get fully vaccinated or pass a weekly PCR test and biweekly antigen test in order to have limited supervised visitation with his daughter every other weekend.

The judge also seemed to criticize and demean the father for not having been vaccinated yet as he said, “Unfortunately, and to my mind, incomprehensibly, a sizable minority, seizing upon misinformation, conspiracy theories, and muddled notions of ‘individual liberty,’ have refused all entreaties to be vaccinated.”

“Absurd position”

What the judge failed to consider in setting this “dangerous and unjustified precedent,” according to the father’s attorney, Lloyd Rosen, is that the father had already been infected with COVID-19 and had natural immunity that was just as protective as a vaccine would be, if not more so.

“My client is not a conspiracy theorist. He has concerns about the vaccine. He’s heard about side effects. He once had a bad reaction to a flu vaccine,” Rosen told the Post. He further added that the judge’s requirements constituted an “unreasonable intrusion on his rights as an American citizen.”

“This judge must feel that 80 million Americans who aren’t vaccinated are placing their children at imminent risk of harm and, therefore, the courts should intervene and remove those children from their parents,” the lawyer said. “This is an absurd position to take.”

Separately, Rosen told WLNY, “The only person this court was concerned about was the father, whether or not he was vaccinated. The court was not concerned about the dozens of children that this child comes into contact with, with the dozens of school personnel at the preschool.”

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, as the Chicago Tribune reported in late August that a Cook County judge had stripped an Illinois mother of visitation rights with her 11-year-old son due to her unvaccinated status — she’d been advised by her doctor not to get one — only to then backtrack days later and vacate his own order.

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