A newly implemented California law requires that parents objecting to vaccination meet with health care providers to discuss “the value of vaccinations — both the benefits and the risks–for an individual child and the community” before enrolling their children in school or childcare facilities.

Flu vaccine administered by US Army personnel. Photo courtesy EuropeDistrict via Flickr Creative Commons.

Flu vaccine administered by US Army personnel. Photo courtesy EuropeDistrict via Flickr Creative Commons.

The stated goal of AB 2109 is to boost vaccination rates, which have fallen in recent years as more and more parents opt not to vaccinate their kids. Although complete vaccination records are required for enrollment in school, 48 states allow a ‘religious’ exemption that, anecdotally speaking, often excuses parents who object to vaccination grounds unrelated to religion.

(“We just said we had ‘religious’ objections to it and that was that,” a cheerfully non-religious parent told me as our children happily exchanged germs played with one another at the park.)

While AB 2109 could have had significant influence — my childrens’ pediatrician, now retired, is second to none in persuading parents of the importance of vaccines — the law allows a religious exemption to the requirement of counseling. All a parent has to do is claim religious objection and that’s that: no further questions or education needed.

In California, rates of whooping cough (pertussis) nearly doubled from 2012 to 2013, with nearly two thousand cases statewide. That’s nothing compared to 2010, when, in the worst outbreak in over 60 years, the state recorded more than nine thousand cases of pertussis. Ten infants, too young to be vaccinated, died of the disease, which certainly gives the lie to the idea that vaccination is purely a ‘personal choice,’ as I wrote for Christianity Today some time ago.

(And yes, I’m aware that many cases of pertussis have been reported in people who have been vaccinated. But the medical evidence suggests that these cases are milder, and, more importantly, are attributable to the fact that the pertussis vaccine wears off over time; health care professionals and those who work with young infants are urged to get boosters.)

What’s most troubling to me is the casual abuse of the venerable concept of “religious freedom” in order to secure the right to refuse, on dubious scientific grounds, an effective and important public health measure, particularly when very few Americans practice any form of organized religion that specifically proscribes vaccination.

Someone may object that the government has no right to tell anyone to get an injection at all. To which I can only say, if that’s the kind of society you’d like to have, you can certainly find places in this world that will accommodate you, such as the country in which I currently live. The only problem? Without the herd immunity afforded you by living in a population that’s mostly vaccinated, you’d be at significant risk for contracting measles, typhoid, polio, yellow fever and other diseases largely conquered in the US…thanks, in no small part, to vaccines.

That might be the truer test of faith and convictions.

(See also this recent, excellent piece in the Daily Beast by a pediatrician who’s got the chutzpah to say “vaccinate your kids — or get out of my office.”)

109 Comments

  1. In the most polite way possible, I have to say that there are few groups as wrongheaded, ignorant and dangerously stupid as the “anti-vaxxers”. Their brand of selfish idiocy creates public health hazards no sane person should have to endure.

    Making religious exemptions to vaccination is just one step too many in blindly giving into ridiculous concerns under the guise of “personal freedom”. One more example where society as a whole suffers from people who value piety over intelligence and concern for others.

      • More polite than the terms I thought were really appropriate. Ones not generally used in public discourse :)

        I have zero respect for “anti-vaxxers”. It is willingly creating health hazards for children and the community at large for truly idiotic or phony reasons. There is no scientific or medical rationale behind it. It is just buying into phony psuedo-belief in a dangerously stupid way.

          • No risks except for a vastly greater chance of contracting and suffering from a disease which would have been prevented otherwise by inoculation. Couple that with the higher likelihood that such infections will be fatal. You also have additional vectors for said diseases which would otherwise not have existed.

            Diseases don’t eradicate themselves. Vaccination is what keeps their incidence in a population down to miniscule levels or their incidence to manageable as opposed to lethal intensities.

    • In the most impolite way possible I’m sick and tired of reading the uneducated crap you people put out there as scientific fact. I’ve researched vaccines for over twenty years and I can tell you unequivocally that vaccines maim and kill children every day and have been doing so for the last 150 years. I am the author of the book What Every Parent Should Know about Childhood Immunization and I know what I’m talking about. I did long and arduous research. The medical establishment has been in denial about the number of adverse reactions for years…they all know about them now. How do you think I learned about the horrors of vaccines. I read medical journal articles from the late 1800s to the present time. There are literally thousands of research articles on vaccines…listing their numerous side effects. Do some work buddy and get real.

  2. Well said.
    If it helps, I just wrote a relatively lengthy article saying that parents – not just in CA – misuse religious exemptions. It’s summarized here, with a link to the full article: http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/religious-exemptions-vaccination-abuse-reform/

    • Religion is an ethical or moral belief. If the parent ethically or morally believes that vaccines are poison and chemicals in the material are dangerous to their child(ren) that is a religious belief. And you cannot dictate that in the US. Those of you who believe that vaccines are highly important for your health have no right to force that belief system upon others just as religious organizations are not permitted to foist their beliefs upon any part of the general public if they are not interested in following that belief. You have not grounds that your vaccine policies are preventing disease, in fact it is just the opposite. The largest outbreak of any disease is soon after a vigorous vaccine campaign. And you know this if you have done any sort of research. So keep your beliefs to yourselves and allow others to exercise their rights to observe their own “beliefs”.

      • Actually, you may not have a right to dictate other’s belief, but under our jurisprudence, you do not have a constitutional right not to vaccinate for religious reasons. Quite the contrary. A state is entitled not to give a religious exemption at all.

        Providing any non-medical exemption is a political decision, a favor, not a matter of rights.

        • It is clear and obvious that it is every individual’s right is to decide for themselves (and for their minor children) in matters of medical care. Whether they choose to claim this on a religious, scientific or philosophical basis, it is their right.

          To posit that the state can deny that basic right is to support dictatorship.

          • That’s an interesting argument but the problem is that living in social groups generally means having to adhere to certain societal norms else society will fail to function. Of course the question is where do you draw the lines. If one wishes to walk around sans shoes and deo well that’s your issue. If one wishes to sell you daughters off to the highest bidder well….. You get the point.

          • It’s actually not a parent’s absolute right to make healthcare decisions for their children. See the cases of parents arrested for refusing treatment for their kids because they thought prayer would be more effective than medicine only to have their children die because of the parents’ stupidity.

          • I am not sure you understand the word “dictatorship” I suggest you go live in Caracas for a bit, gain some understanding, then return to the US and talk again about this “dictatorship” you are imagining.

          • No one is trying to interfere with parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children, although those rights are not as unequivocal as you seem to think. The pivotal point here is that the state has the right to determine requirements that need to be met in order for people to avail themselves of specific public benefits. In order to use the public schools, parents need to meet certain requirements that support public health, especially for children. Failure to do so infringes on the rights of others.

      • Garson Abuita

        “Religion is an ethical or moral belief.” That is absolutely NOT what religion means. It’s part of it but not identical. And it highlights exactly the point of this article: that you, anti-vaccination parents, school officials and legislators are allowing anyone who objects to say “it’s my religion.” No exemption could possibly be that broad and remain rational. It essentially would mean that you must get vaccinated, unless you don’t want to.

  3. June Park (@IntactivistPark)

    Unfortunately, vaccinating a minor is not truly legal under the 14th Amendment which guarantees equal rights to all. It does violate religious rights and also state child abuse laws which usually do not allow a mark to be left on the child for any reason other than medical emergency, of which a vaccine is not. I cannot speak to all reasons why people would choose not to vaccinate a minor, but the very issue of vaccines being injected into people who did not make that choice for themselves safe from coercion IS a huge issue when we discuss ethics and laws on the books. I do not think religious and philosophical reasons are invalid since they protect the child’s choice to keep their body as nature/G-d intended, for religious reasons among others, until they are of an age where informed consent can be given by the person being vaccinated.

    • I’d argue the exact opposite. Not protecting a child against diseases that can endanger her health is closer to medical neglect. Vaccinating a child is certainly not abuse. The parent has both the right and the duty to make medical decisions for the child, though within limits.
      If it’s choice you’re worried about, you should worry more about the child not having a choice not to be left exposed to dangerous diseases.

      • You could argue that but you’d be wrong since it does not approach medical neglect. Neglect is not treating a curable form of cancer – this does not even approach something that could be classified as neglect. These illnesses you erroneously call dangerous are either usually mild or become a risk only when other risk factors are added to the mix

      • It’s that those decisions put other people at risk. If we must have an non-vaccination exemption, those children should be required to stay away from all public places, so they don’t endanger other people. This is a good option I think. All unvaccinated people and their parents can simply be unvaccinated together on their own little island. Eventually, you will all die off of disease and the whole argument will be over. All problems solved!

    • Garson Abuita

      No, neither the 14th amendment nor child abuse laws bar vaccinating minors. Does taking blood violate the 14th amendment too? How about ear piercing? Parents as a general rule may make medical decisions for their children.

  4. Every parent is entitled to a Medical Exemption but by law only a vaccine salesman may sign a Medical Exemption. Imagine the hypothetical case of an atheist who sees his child experience an adverse reaction to a vaccine but can not convince his doctor to issue a Medical exemption to further vaccination. The atheist parent is ethically obliged to protect their child and therefore entitled to the Religious Exemption. Vaccine ingredients, such as blood products, are forbidden to Jews, Christians and Moslem’s as well as others. Vaccine propaganda should never override either science or religion. All parents are entitled to a Religious exemption to what is essentially a commercialized superstition.

    • Thanks so much for stating the obvious truth. Even atheism is a belief. A belief is defined as a “religion” no matter what others may thing. In Pennsylvania the Religious exemption reads: “RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION” is used when a parent moral/ethical belief similar to that of a religious belief.” That says it all. I cannot belief that any sane individual who has researched the pharmaceutical industry and their track record of drugs that killed an maim could even trust them with “prevention”. What a joke. There is not prevention of disease for the allopathic industry. They are there to keep as many ill or make more illness to achieve their goal of high share value for the stock holder and nothing more.

      • Framing the religious exemption so broadly is an excellent reason, in my view, to abolish it. It makes it completely impossible to policy, and if the legislatures wanted to provide an out for the tiny minorities with real religious issues, this goes completely against it. Since states are not constitutionally required to provide such an exemption, and since it’s so easily abuse, it should just be removed.

        • This is a matter that’s above the state governments and above the federal government. To reiterate for the hard of thinking – the right to refuse a medical treatment even if in the opinion of the physician one would die must be respected.

          And please don’t even think about bringing up the mythical “herd immunity” ….

          • A right which does not extend to one’s children. One has a right to refuse medical treatment for themselves, but not to their children. Children being incapable of making such decisions in a legal sense. Time and again parents who refuse medical care for children based on religious beliefs are found to be committing child abuse or even worse prosecuted for homicide.

    • Garson Abuita

      I can’t speak for Christians or “Moslem’s,” but Judaism does not prohibit vaccination. While there is some non-vaccination going on in Haredi communities in Israel and NYC, halacha has nothing to do with it.

  5. I am ethically opposed to my child having seizures, the doctor was ethically opposed to reporting the seizures to the state health department because she said vaccines are far too important to risk losing them by reporting side effects, the state (when i contacted them) agreed with her.

    • You are also opposed to getting actual verified information on the subject before posing a potential health risk to your child and the public. The overwhelming majority of anti-vaccination material out there came from a faked study and the internet equivalent of a game of “telephone”.

      Its a stupid argument anyway. Given the choice of a remote chance of seizures or the chance of SLOW PAINFUL DEATH, you would chose the more dangerous option.

          • “A right which does not extend to one’s children”???

            Like it or not – Parents are the ones responsible for their children, and every authority they have over their children (including the authority to decide on medical treatment for their minor children) derives from that responsibility.

            Or would you rather that parents be left out of their children’s care altogether?

          • You are talking out of your sphincter here. Like it or not, there is a ton of legal precedent equating withholding medical care from children to be equivalent of child abuse or even homicide.

            “Or would you rather that parents be left out of their children’s care altogether?”

            If they were anti-vaxxers, christian scientists or jehovah’s witnesses, it would be much safer for the children if they were.

  6. A religious exemption should not even be necessary. Everyone should have the right to make decisions about vaccines for themselves and their minor children.

    And BTW we don’t have vaccines against malaria, typhoid, and yellow fever.

    • I’d say there’s a difference between themselves – adults should have a right to decide – and their children, who cannot choose, and whose right to be free from preventable diseases deserves protection.

        • Children have rights of their own. They’re not property. Parental rights can be limited when they endanger a child’s right to health. http://shotofprevention.com/2014/02/11/the-rights-of-the-unvaccinated-child-the-legal-framework/

          • Sure, children like all humans have rights, and it is the responsibility of their parents to uphold those rights. That responsibility includes making healthy choices for their children.

            And stop constructing a straw man by expanding the issue of vaccination to include all healthcare. We’re talking about vaccines here.

            A study of over 10,000 unvaccinated children shows they are far healthier than the vaccinated.

            http://www.vaccineinjury.info/results-unvaccinated/results-illnesses.html

          • Morally, parents have obligations to maintain the trust they hold over their children. In some cases this applies to areas involving health like providing something like cancer treatment necessary for life and development. If they do not meet those obligations they can lose custody. Since the parental claim is so strong it takes serious offenses to trigger state involvement. Not providing every excessive medical treatment under the sun does not qualify. Failing to feed a child for example does qualify. Not vaccinating does not since children can live quite well with out vaccines. They also have built in protection from what scientists call an “immune system.” They on the other hand would starve without someone providing food. Remember, when one group comes after my child for frivolous reasons they can come after yours for equally frivolous ones

        • Like it or not – parents do not have every authority over their children. If necessary the state will step in if the wishes of the parents infringe on a child’s right to health and safety. Courts have ordered treatments when parents refuse chemotherapy on religious grounds. Parents have been prosecuted when failure to procure medical treatment resulted in the death of their child.

          • Sorry, I just picked myself up from Rolling On the Floor Laughing …First, are you seriously putting a 100 % life-threatening situation alongside a mere potential for illness?
            Second, a court ordering chemotherapy proves neither the wisdom of the court nor its right to overrule the right of parents to choose medical treatment.
            Third, the US Gov’s Vaccine court recently awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars after it was determined that the MMR vaccine led to a confirmed diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

            Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/041897_mmr_vaccines_autism_court_ruling.html#ixzz2tnTbdabT

            I’ll take my chances with proper nutrition and healthy living to boost the immune systems of myself and my family thank-you-very-much!

          • Sorry, I just picked myself up from Rolling On the Floor Laughing…that you cite Natural News as a credible source for medical information. I’ll take peer-reviewed research from a reputable journal, thank-you-very-much!

            You may want to consider the possibility that courts do not determine causality. Further, from your own link, the child developed encephalitis. There is no evidence of an ASD diagnosis. It is also far more likely to develop encephalitis from wild measles than from the MMR (1000 per million verses less than one per million).

            And yes, court ordered medical treatments for a sick child, against a parent’s wishes, illustrates the right of the court to overrule the wishes of the parents, when it is in the child’s best interest.

            Measles can be life-threatening. Parents should be held accountable if their child, unvaccinated for non-medical reasons, suffers serious injury or death because the parents neglected to take necessary preventative measures, like vaccination.

        • Earold Gunter

          Chris Xavier, you may want to dig a little deeper before you swallow B.S. in full sized chunks. Your anti-vaccine web site data was all made up.
          http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/08/31/an-anti-vaccine-administered-survey-back/

          Religion is poison!!

          • “All made up”? Over 10,000 records? Obviously you are the one who is swallowing the “Bad Science” pushed by the Vaccine Lobby. Do you understand the effort that would require? If he had a couple of hundred records it could be considered that activists might have faked it but, all those records? It would be too easy for pattern analysis to show the fraud. Evidently, you’re so reflexively opposed that you’re not thinking this through.

            A close look at the article you cite (posted by an establishment trained soi-disant “skeptic” (amazing how things change, it used to be that a skeptic was a thinker, now every reflexive contrarian calls himself a skeptic … but I digress)) shows that he never tries to counter the health status of the participants but instead attempts to criticize the survey based on perceived methodological flaws.

            Even if, from a statistical practice standpoint, the survey is flawed, it still does not change the fact that the children are *healthy without all those vaccines.*

            But hey – why not allow the corporate-owned state to dictate to you. I would agree that it’s your right to choose that path. Enjoy your kool-ade!

            And yes, false religion is poison, but so is suckling in a state of learned helplessness on the teat of the state.

    • Rachel Marie Stone

      Post author

      Actually, Twyla, we do have vaccines against yellow fever and typhoid. I am certain of this because I, my husband, and my children have had these vaccines.

      • Yes – my parents were missionaries in Ghana – it’s a requirement to get a visa into Ghana! I got them for the first time at 3 years old. And we take anti-malarial pills.

  7. The CDC says we can’t blame the pertussis outbreaks on vaccine exempt ors.

    Dr. Anne Schuchat, director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, speaking at a CDC briefing:
    “We think there are many things going on. Pertussis is a cyclical disease and the vaccines are not perfect. So even with increasing vaccination coverage, we expect to still have cycles. We think there are some unusual epidemiologic features that have caused us to launch a more detailed investigation in Washington State. Waning of immunity or a weakening of the time or waning of protection over time may be part of the story that we’re seeing. On the other hand, we know that people who are not vaccinated have about an eight times higher risk of disease than people who are vaccinated. We know there are places around the country where there are large numbers of people who aren’t vaccinated. However, we don’t think those exemptors are driving this current wave. We think it is a bad thing that people aren’t getting vaccinated or exempting, but we cannot blame this wave on that phenomenon. “
    http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/t0719_pertussis_epidemic.html

    • “we know that people who are not vaccinated have about an eight times higher risk of disease than people who are vaccinated.”

      “We think it is a bad thing that people aren’t getting vaccinated or exempting”

      As stated in your own cut and paste. Obviously this is poor material for an argument against vaccination.

    • While it is true that the pertussis vaccine wanes much quicker than scientists expected – and notice how public this is, negating the anti-vaccine claims of a conspiracy of silence about problems with vaccines – the vaccine actually offers reasonable effective short term protection (also addressed in the baboon study you mention). Unvaccinated individuals are substantially more at risk of contracting pertussis, and communities with low rates of vaccination more prone to outbreaks: : http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p2069.pdf.

      It wasn’t the anti-vaccine movement which caused the resurgence in pertussis, but it’s certainly contributing to outbreak.

      A baby in California just died from pertussis.

  8. The Broken Vaccine
    Whooping cough is on the rise, exposing a worrisome trend: The vaccine that holds it in check is losing its potency, and nobody is sure why. http://discovermagazine.com/2013/march/15-broken-vaccine#.UeyPBhaxP8v

    When immunity fails: The Whooping Cough Epidemic
    http://www.kpbs.org/news/envision/whoopingcough/

    Whooping cough evolves vaccine resistance
    WHOOPING cough is outgrowing the vaccine introduced a decade ago to prevent the potentially deadly disease, Australian researchers have found.
    http://m.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/whooping-cough-evolves-vaccin

  9. A recent study exposed four groups of baboons to pertussis germs and found that:
    - Unvaccinated baboons who had previously come down with whooping cough did not get infected.
    - Unvaccinated baboons who had never come down with whooping cough got very sick.
    - Vaccinated baboons came down with mild cases of whooping cough but were infected with the germ and able to transmit it to others for an average of 18 days (DPT) or 35 days (TDaP).

    Acellular pertussis vaccines protect against disease but fail to prevent infection and transmission in a nonhuman primate model
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/20/1314688110
    “These data provide a plausible explanation for pertussis resurgence…”

  10. When your child has ended with brain damage due encephalitis caused by a vaccine a parent often has no other choice but to use the religious exemption to make sure their child is going to live, as the next vaccine would likely kill that child. So much for the “wonderful” vaccines. I’m certainly not going to take that risk ever again, thank you very much.
    It’s interesting to see how the pro propaganda works so well, especially as I have not been able to find one double blind study that shows safety. Neither has my GP BTW.

    • I’m a little confused. My understanding is that a severe reaction to a previous vaccine is a contra indication. Why not use a medical exemption?

  11. No of vaccine preventable deaths for the last 7 years: 1336
    http://jennymccarthybodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Preventable_Deaths.html

    No of vaccine preventable illnesses in the last 7 years: 128,044
    http://jennymccarthybodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Preventable_Illnesses.html

    No of cases of autism related to vaccines: 0
    http://jennymccarthybodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Links.html

    • Way to cherry-pick the evidence Larry:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/post2468343_b_2468343.html
      http://www.infowars.com/breaking-courts-discreetly-confirm-mmr-vaccine-causes-autism/
      http://www.ageofautism.com/us-italian-courts-award-millions-for-vaccine-autism-cases.html
      But why am I surprised? selective perception is just par for the course for bigots …

      • Using ‘ageofautusm’ as a reference? Instant fail.

        I’d suggest linking only to credible sources to make your argument. Presuming you have one.

        • What is this? Credibility by hearsay? I have checked and am satisfied that the sources I have cited are credible. You’re falling victim to the propaganda and parroting ad hominem attacks that have no basis in fact.
          Peter I’m not sure if you’re simply naive, or just simple but you need to wake up and stop this brain-lazy echoing.
          Go bring some argumentation or some sources of your own to the table.

          Can you?

    • Paging Dr. Mengele.

      This is a perfect example of how a little bit of knowledge can be no better than complete ignorance. I am sure you heard of “double blind studies” somewhere as a benchmark for experimental reliability and thought it would make a cute semi-knowledgable remark. But it is ridiculous. Such a study would be unethical to say the least. Studying people by withholding treatment for a potentially deadly contagion in such a sense would only make sense if you worked for Unit 731 or were performing Frankensteinian experiments.

      Epidemiological studies cannot be made using “double blind studies” but instead use statistics and recording past incidents. The reduced incidences of an innoculated disease and reduced intensity of said incidences measured over time gives plenty of credible proof of vaccine safety.

    • Hi Charlise, this article points to an interesting study:
      http://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/new-survey-shows-unvaccinated-children-vastly-healthier-far-lower-rates-of-chronic-conditions-and-autism/

    • Charlise, I assume you’ll be volunteering your children for such a study, then, since you insist on it? You won’t be able to choose which group your children are in, vaccinated or unvaccinated, or for which vaccines. You also won’t know, for at least the duration of the study, which would, according to antivaccine claims, need to run for the rest of their lives. I’m sure you’ll be more than willing to help.

  12. Hindus are not told that vaccines contain beef, Moslems and Jews are not told that they contain pork, and Christians are not told that they contain human cells from aborted babies.

  13. Christian Mom

    I find this post as well as the comments offensive to Christians. The most educated parents I have ever met on this issue do not vaccinate, Larry. I don’t think it’s fair either to suggest that a parent with a child crippled by a vaccine ought now to have the right to a medical exemption (as suggested to Diana). That’s precisely the problem. We don’t know which children will react in such a way until it’s late. But what do you care if it’s not your child, huh? That is quite contrary to my biblical understanding. Remember the herd was left to seek out the lost sheep. Also, you curiously completely ignored the comment about vaccines derived from abortion. Many of them are, you know. In fact, there are some studies that suggest that the link between autism and vaccines is specifically a link between autism and those vaccines derived from abortion. (Google Children of God for Life for more on which ones to avoid). What you seem to be missing is that many parents opt out of vaccines for precisely the reasons you opt in–to protect their children. To judge them in such a way is really unfair. Lastly, you are making 2 assumptions that are not true. The 1st is that vaccines are effective (in which case you shouldn’t have to worry about unvaccinated kids “passing germs” to yours). Second, you make the assumption that unvaccinated people are magnets for these diseases. Neither of which is true.

    • Rachel Marie Stone

      Post author

      My friend Ellen has an excellent post on the “fetal cell” problem: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ellenpainterdollar/2014/02/does-the-fetal-cell-problem-justify-religious-exemption-for-vaccinations/.

    • I hope you are offended. I don’t want to give the impression that I consider such views remotely reasonable. And no, if they are not vaccinating their children based on the information out there, they are not well educated. Not in the least. Hysterical maybe, but not well educated.

      If you are doing it for religious reasons, you are willingly blinding yourself to the information out there. You are so selfish in your piety that you are more than willing to put others at risk in service of your version of God. There is nothing worth respecting here.

      The studies linking autism to vaccines are crap. Junk science coming from a very small number of sources, long debunked years ago.

      A medical exemption based on contraindications is not the point here. That would be a medical decision best left in the hands of medical professionals.
      Frankly the argument out of fear of a vaccine’s remote side effects is also ridiculous. You are deciding that slow painful death is a viable alternative to non-life threatening but disabling results. The slow painful death option is much more likely than the worrying side effects.

      “Also, you curiously completely ignored the comment about vaccines derived from abortion”

      Because it is entirely bogus. But it works well with religious hysterics not used to thinking critically.

      Vaccines are certainly effective given the long history of seeing diseases being slowly eradicated and incidents going down steadily with the introduction of inoculation. Unvaccinated children ARE magnets for diseases where the rest of the population is largely immune due to innoculation. They will likely catch said disease with an extremely higher likelihood than the rest of the population.

  14. This is simply a matter of individual choice. Case closed. For those who are so in love with the state and do not wish to allow parents to carry their load of responsibility, North Korea may welcome your statist attitude.

    • Rachel Marie Stone

      Post author

      It is by no means a matter of individual choice, any more than it is an ‘individual choice’ to drive a car blindfolded. It’s a question of public health and safety.

      • Driving is not a right, it’s a privilege. I don’t have a right to drive, but I DO have a right to choose medical treatment. Public Health and Safety are a not even an issue.

        Besides, if you are vaccinated, my choosing to rely on nutrition and healthy living to build up my immune system is not going to affect you.

  15. The Logic Which Disproves Vaccine Induced “Herd Immunity”:
    Dr. Russell Blaylock MD, a retired neurosurgeon, says that if one takes a moment to consider the history of vaccination, the concept of herd immunity as it applies to vaccines unravels quickly.
    “When I was in medical school, we were taught that all of the childhood vaccines lasted a lifetime. This thinking existed for over 70 years. It was not until relatively recently that it was discovered that most of these vaccines lost their effectiveness 2 to 10 years after being given. What this means is that at least half the population, that is the baby boomers, have had no vaccine-induced immunity against any of these diseases for which they had been vaccinated very early in life. In essence, at least 50% or more of the population was unprotected for decades.
    If we listen to present-day wisdom, we are all at risk of resurgent massive epidemics should the vaccination rate fall below 95%. Yet, we have all lived for at least 30 to 40 years with 50% or less of the population having vaccine protection. That is, herd immunity has not existed in this country for many decades and no resurgent epidemics have occurred.
    Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie used to frighten doctors, public-health officials, other medical personnel, and the public into accepting vaccinations.”

    • Exactly: Here’s some more analysis:
      http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2012/07/05/herd-immunity-the-flawed-science-and-failures-of-mass-vaccination-suzanne-humphries-md-3/

    • Scientists aren’t allowed to discover new info? Just because they thought something 30 years ago doesn’t mean evidence hasn’t been discovered since then that means we need to update our systems. What next? Because ancient people once believed in a flat earth, that stands for all time?

  16. @Rob (yours of Feb 19, 2014 at 1:46 pm)

    Is auctioning one’s daughters one’s right? obviously NOT.
    And there are Laws to punish such criminal behavior.

    However, it IS one’s right to choose medical treatments.

  17. @Larry (yours of Feb 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm)
    Your problem, Larry, is you don’t know a sphincter from a hole in the ground.

    Stick with the topic here, don’t “straw man” by widening out to include “medical care” as a whole.

    So – what ton of legal precedent? Show me the cases equating withholding vaccines from children to be equivalent to child abuse or even homicide.

    Ah – now we see your authoritarian colours: you are just against certain groups, no attempt to really argue the principles … “anti-vaxxers, christian scientists or jehovah’s witnesses,” Who else would you like to include in your blanket condemnation? Whose next? Come on speak up!

    This is why we must maintain the RIGHTS of the individual, otherwise we slip as you have on that slippery slope to the anti-American authoritarianism that Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation fought against.

  18. @Anna (your of Feb 19, 2014 at 3:38 pm)
    Seriously Anna your desperation is showing: but your personal opinion of Natural News is irrelevant however, I am not citing any “medical information” as the article reported on a court decision. So did several other news outlets .
    Your naivety is cute but dangerous. Wake up – who pays out that kind of money without a causal link?

    And again – we’re talking about treatment of a child who *might* become ill, not one who is sick. Stick to the context please.

    • You are citing medical information or at least attempting to – positing there is a causal link between MMR and autism, which is totally unsupported in the medical literature – and using this as some sort of justification for vaccine exemption.

      Please do not ignore that the compensation was for encephalitis, not autism. Natural News is not reporting a court outcome but speculating (and strongly insinuating) about an ASD diagnosis. That is proof enough of what a specious source Natural News truly is.

      As far as context goes, there was a court case in which failure to vaccinate a healthy child during a measles outbreak was considered neglect. Ultimately the court declined “to utilize its discretionary power to order inoculation at this time” because the threat of the measles outbreak had passed. But vaccinating was within the court’s purview. This is discussed in a larger context by Dorit Reiss, and she linked to the post in one of her comments here.

      • Why oh why do you persist in this juvenile naiveté?

        Ok Anna, don’t like NaturalNews? Let me switch to HuffPo (and if that’s not mainstream enough for you …)

        The Mojabi case was transferred to the vaccine court’s Omnibus Autism Proceeding, then the award was made. Have you really drunk enough kool-ade to believe those “unpublished” records would not show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism?

        Even so – in both the Mojabi and Moller cases – look at the horrendous injury admittedly wrought by the vaccine!

        Sounds like you’re saying “it wasn’t ASD only encephalopathy, so there!”
        I paraphrase Welch: “At long last, Anna, have you left no sense of decency?

        Remember their names: Emily Moller, Ryan Mojabi.

        Again – for the hard of thinking – I rely on good nutrition and healthy living, and I’m not going near anything that has a chance of giving me encephalitis!

        If there was a clear demonstration that there was NO link between the vaccine and the ASD then DEFINITELY the concession document would have been publicized endlessly in multiple media. Instead, the concession document is under seal.

        Why? Start thinking people!

        And – hundreds of thousands of dollars awarded in these two cases says it all – vaccines can and do cause injury. No entity shells out that kind of dough without HAVING to.

        Courts have been ruling all sorts of mistaken things and claiming all sorts of powers for ages. Does that prove they’re right every time?

        Manifestly NO. Especially regarding individual rights – Dred Scott v Sandford? Korematsu v. US? Plessy v. Ferguson? Chevron v. NRDC? Buck v. Bell?

        • The fact remains that Mojabi and Moller were compensated for encephalitis. You can claim that it was really autism but that is baseless and you have absolutely no proof. Indulging in conspiracy theories damages what little credibility you had.

          Vaccines are not without risk, and that has never been a secret. But adverse reactions are exceptionally, exceptionally rare. Serious complications are far more common from the diseases that vaccines protect against.

          Encephalitis is a terrible thing and I have every sympathy for affected individuals and their families. But if you think good nutrition and healthy living will protect you, you’re fooling yourself. Without vaccination, you are vulnerable to wild measles, which has a much, much higher rate of developing encephalitis than the MMR, in addition to other complications like pneumonia.

          You may not like that courts can intervene and act against a parent’s wish when medical treatments are concerned, but they can and do because the parents are putting their child’s health at risk. And frankly, comparing these actions to segregation and internment camps, is crass to say the least.

          • Clinging to the official statement that Mojabi and Moller (glad to see you remembering their names) were compensated for encephalopathy is such a ludicrous response that I was tempted to let you have the last word on this, but to claim that “adverse reactions are exceptionally, exceptionally rare” shows that you need more schooling on this matter.

            This fact remains: many vaccines cause serious injury. In 2008, the HRSA gave the number of compensable cases for Encephalitis/Encephalopathy as 611.

            611.

            “exceptionally, exceptionally rare” ???

            Add to that compensable 711 cases for Seizure Disorders for a total of 1,322 cases.

            “exceptionally, exceptionally rare” ???

            Check the facts and stop parroting propaganda!

            And why would you make the ridiculous statement that ” if you think good nutrition and healthy living will protect you, you’re fooling yourself”. I don’t think you engaged your brain before you dropped that clanger.

            Measles has been around for millennia. What protected the human race before vaccines?

            “Before the introduction of measles vaccines, measles virus infected 95%–98% of children by age 18 years [1–4], and measles was considered an inevitable rite of passage. Exposure was often actively sought for children in early school years because of the greater severity of measles in adults.” – The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

            Were those parents “putting their child’s health at risk”? Were they all religious nuts? Were they conspiracy theorists?

            No, they were confident to do as they did because they kept their children healthy – proper nutrition, clean water, active lifestyle, it all adds up!

            And feel free to reread my post, maybe you’ll eventually get my point that not every court ruling is a wise decision ….

  19. I find it alarming how easy it is for parents to obtain the exemptions without so much as a question. I always found it alarming how many people were opposed to AB 2109- it seems many of the opposition didn’t even understand the bill.
    I do hope that other states with non-medical exemptions consider similar bills to help encourage education and discussion between parents and healthcare providers.

  20. My daughter was born in China. We adopted her at 12 months of age. We simply have no 0-12 month medical records, no evidence she received vaccinations or not. She has of course had all routine vaccinations since.

    In order to enroll her in school here in Oregon, I had to claim a religious exemption, as I could not demonstrate early childhood vaccinations, and the law has no other way around for missing-and-unrecoverable medical records except to claim that exemption. Which is really weird, because I am an atheist.

    • If you go to your Dr. And ask for a blood test, they can determine what vaccines you have and have not had. I worked in China for four years and they managed to lose my vaccination record. My doctor in the US (who was born in Shanghai) said no problem, just go get a blood test. Then he told me they had lost his birth certificate……anyway, she can get a blood test.

  21. Violet Harris

    I read the comments referring to the vaccines made with aborted fetal cell lines, Rachel’s comments about that, and then the article by Ellen Painter Dollar. What hideous theology. Surely this is a part of the great “falling away” from the faith that the Bible talks about. Would these people who support the use of such vaccines also think it was moral to use products made from Holocaust victims? If we truly believe that the unborn are human, how is this any different? To me, this is creepy; it sounds much more like pharmaceutical salesmanship than Biblical theology. Surely genuine Christians will find it abhorrent. I certainly do.

  22. @Pam (yours of Feb 22, 2014 at 6:29 am)

    Ah yes, the wisdom of the courts again … But even if we grant their wisdom, there cannot be a blanket ban on religious exemptions. These cases must be considered one by one. You obviously wouldn’t know a slippery slope if it bit you in the leg :-)

  23. Chris Xavier
    Yes, I would consider those compensated cases, out of the millions of MMRs given, as exceptionally rare. Please also remember that court cases do not determine causality. Some simply settle because it is cheaper to do so.

    Healthy habits are great but they do not provide immunity to disease. Healthy people can and do contract disease and suffer serious complications or even death. It happens. To pretend otherwise is foolish.

    Of course, in 2014, you probably will not experience any of these illnesses. It’s not because of your lifestyle, but because most people in your community are vaccinated. If you doubt this, please test your healthy lifestyle in a country where these diseases run rampant and see how you fair.

    Your comparison to racial segregation and internment camps is disgusting. Those people were actually oppressed and reduced to second class citizenship.

    Your contention with vaccination is a first world problem, the equivalent of feeling oppressed by the Starbucks barista because he misspelled your name. You have the luxury of refusing these vaccines because earlier generations nearly eradicated these diseases through vaccination, and these diseases remain largely a thing of the past because most people continue to vaccinate. You’re a leech and a burden. Congratulations.

    • Anna, I see there is hope for you yet. As Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

      I see you’ve left the laughing stage and begun to fight the only way you can in view of the facts – by calling me names :-)
      A leech and a burden? Please – I’m a taxpaying citizen; i guess in your tearful, frustrated state you couldn’t come up with more cogent names.

      Anyway, once you’ve worked the frustration of realizing you don’t have the facts on your side out of your system, you’ll begin to think clearly and see that you should come over and join us on the winning side.

      Remember, there’s no shame in giving in to the facts, the shame is in clinging dogmatically to the wrong position.

      But at first it made me wonder: are you just being dogmatic or are you really so coldhearted as to maintain that the demonstrably severe vaccine injury in 1322 cases can be ignored because it is a statistically rare event?

      (And again for the hard of thinking: the money would NOT have been paid out unless it was justified. Which one of those parents would have had the resources to make Big Pharma settle “because it is cheaper to do so”?)

      Statistically, school shootings are “exceptionally exceptionally rare”; should those calling for action on the issue be ignored?

      Terrorists flying planes into skyscrapers is “exceptionally exceptionally rare”‘ should Homeland Security just stand down?

      Sexually motivated child abduction murders are statistically rare, should nothing be done to try to eliminate such events altogether?

      Police brutality is statistically rare … you get the picture I hope. Maintaining that something is statistically rare is simply a cop-out.

      (And yes, I know these comparisons will bring you feelings of disgust, motivating you to characterize the comparisons as “disgusting” but, stop and recognize: the disgust arises from your gut level recognition of the validity of the parallels!)

      “Healthy habits … do not provide immunity to disease.” ???
      So you seriously believe that if i don’t smoke, eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fats, workout regularly to maintain a healthy weight, control my blood pressure and get adequate sleep that will NOT help my immune system? That’s so obviously wrongheaded I won’t even bother with the rest of that part of your screed …

      So I’m among the privileged? Never assume anything …

      I grew up in South America, born before the MMR vaccine was deployed in my country, and had measles and mumps when I was a young, unvaccinated toddler. And no, I’m not from a rich family, but my parents made healthy choices and i assure you – i am not speaking to you from beyond the grave. So yes, my wonderfully designed immune system is battle-tested thank-you-very-much. Unlike you i know whereof I speak.

      And it’s “fare” not “fair”.

      Don’t paint me with your brush Anna, maybe you’d get upset if your Starbucks customer service falls short but I have, and have always had, way bigger fish to fry.

      I advise you to take a page from John Donne: toss out the propaganda koolade and become involved in mankind.

      “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” – John Donne.

      This society in which we live is radically changing. What previous generations saw as evil is now embraced as being good. It is a dangerous and slippery slope upon which we stand when we reject what Solomon called the beginning of wisdom – the fear of God. – Ray Comfort

      • The WHO estimated that there were 1.4 million deaths in children under 5 from vaccine preventable diseases in 2002. 98% of those deaths were caused by measles, Hib, pertussis, and neonatal tetanus. I’d say it is callous to ignore 1.4 million children.

        I’m glad you survived your measles infection, and am very glad that South America currently enjoys high vaccination rates, higher than the US in some countries. Before the MMR, 3-4 million people in the US alone were diagnosed with measles each year, 400-500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1000 developed a lifelong disability. It is callous to ignore those people as well.

        Yes, for the third time, healthy habits do not provide immunity. Immunity is the creation of antibodies that fight and prevent infection. No amount of healthful food, exercise, or sleep will create antibodies for polio or any other disease.

        I am not interested in your quotes, anecdotes, or nauseating comparisons. Try supporting your claims with actual evidence. Assumptions and conspiracy theories are not evidence. Feelings and insinuations are not evidence.

        • And I’m not interested in “estimates” – these are the things you allow yourself to be scared by.
          This provokes the emotional knee-jerk responses like the parroting of propaganda and wholesale acceptance of what the vaccine lobby feeds you.
          Instead, the facts (including my personal childhood experience) show that what should be done to ensure the survivability of measles and mumps everywhere on the globe is to improve overall health and nutrition instead of relying solely on injections!

          And stop saying that healthy habits do not provide immunity – what protected humanity before vaccines? Cellular immunity! What creates and bolsters cellular immunity, reducing mortality and morbidity rates before vaccines?
          Proper nutrition and improved living standards, including improved sanitation and less overcrowding.

          I *know* you weren’t born this century, I *know* you’re aware that widespread vaccination is a comparatively recent event. An objective look at the last 200 years shows clearly how health improved in lockstep with wealth. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wgq0l

          I’m glad you recognize your callousness in trying to write off the hundreds of proven vaccine injuries. Good. Yet again – why do so many more survive measles and mumps in developed countries than in less or underdeveloped countries? What’s the difference? Access to clean water, proper nutrition, less overcrowding and better hygiene.

          I’ve provided *facts*. Do yourself a favour and stop ignoring them, makes you look stupid, I *know* you’re not stupid.

          Ah yes – the ultimate cop-out – “I’m not interested”. In case you haven’t recognized it, I’m not really writing just you – I’m really presenting to everyone else that’s reading this web page. If this was a one to one email exchange I’d have dismissed you as the vaccine lobby shill you probably are a long time ago :-)

        • And I guess Time Magazine has joined the “conspiracy theorists”?

          http://healthland.time.com/2014/02/14/children-exposed-to-more-brain-harming-chemicals-than-ever-before/

          Or how about Harvard U?
          http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/fluoride-childrens-health-grandjean-choi/

          • I’m sorry you are not interested in 1.4 million children under 5 who died from preventable diseases. I cannot write them off so easily.

            The measles vaccine was introduced in 1963. Clean water, sanitation, nutrition, and proper hygiene had long been in existence in the US. In the decade before the vaccine was introduced, an average of 549,000 measles cases and 495 measles deaths were reported annually. This is not an estimation but an average of the actual cases reported to the CDC. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for cellular immunity. Do you really want to return to this?

            In the year following the introduction of the measles vaccine, the number of cases fell to the tens of thousands. Please show evidence how nutrition, hygiene, clean water, and sanitation was able to prevent hundreds of thousands of measles cases. In the course of a year, did water become cleaner? Food become more nutritious? Cities become less crowded?

            Clean water and nutrition are important. This is not in dispute. But they are not a substitution for the development of actual antibodies that a vaccine stimulates.

            Children in underdeveloped countries succumb to measles largely because they lack access to basic medical care, including vaccinations. All those other things are important but they are not a substitute.

            The Times and Harvard News articles you linked to are not about vaccines at all.

          • Ok, I’ll spell it out – I linked to the Times and Harvard News articles to show how things long held by “conspiracy theorists” have finally been brought to light in mainstream media.

  24. @Anna (yours of Feb 25, 2014 at 1:50 pm)
    Come, come, come my child, such petulance is unbecoming… you _know_ I’m not expressing disinterest in children under 5 who died from preventable diseases, merely uninterested in the scary “estimates” that provoke knee-jerk appeals for more vaccines instead of attempts to *build up vulnerable populations for the long term by improving their health status*. Why are we giving vaccines instead of providing overall health improvements?

    And stop raising the straw man of vaccines vs NO Vaccines. That’s never been my argument. But I guess you have to bring a straw man when you have to fight the unassailable truth: It is the parents’ RIGHT to CHOOSE.

    However, do you think it’s an accident that the most severe disease outbreaks occur in the poorest countries? Review the data, the numbers don’t lie: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wgq0l.

    Still think better health can’t help? I’ll let the JID answer you: Need a ringing endorsement for increasing overall health and concomitant cellular immunity? “By the late 1950s, even before the introduction of measles vaccine, measles-related deaths and case fatality rates in the United States had decreased markedly, presumably as a result of improvement in health care and nutrition. – Journal of Infectious Diseases.

    Good, you’re gradually getting the point: “Children in underdeveloped countries succumb to measles largely because they lack access to basic medical care”

    The JID concurs: “In many countries, resources are not available to treat measles cases or for adequate hospital care for patients with complications.
    Coupled with poor nutritional status, the lack of access to high-quality medical care leads to case fatality rates of >150 deaths/1000 cases in some populations.”

    And let me reiterate – It is the parents’ RIGHT to CHOOSE.

    • Deaths from measles declined due to better treatment but not incidence and not complications. From the JID article you cited:

      “Nevertheless, in the late 1950s, serious complications due to measles remained frequent and costly. As a result of measles virus infections, an average of 150,000 patients had respiratory complications and 4000 patients had encephalitis each year; the latter was associated with a high risk of neurological sequelae and death. These complications and others resulted in an estimated 48,000 persons with measles being hospitalized every year”

      4000 cases of encephalitis, annually, are acceptable to you? 150,000 people with respiratory complications? 48,000 hospitalizations? Why endure these complications when they are preventable?

      The best alternative to contracting measles is to never become infected in the first place. Pre-vaccine “90% of Americans were infected with the measles virus by age 15 years” (also from the JID article) despite their high standard of living.

      And for children in underdeveloped countries, those complications can be deadly because they lack the medical facilities for treatment. It is far more effective to prevent measles through vaccination, rather than trying to cope with the complications when medical facilities are inaccessible or inadequate.

      Parents can choose for themselves, but their children have rights of their own that cannot be infringe upon. Parents do not have a right to endanger their child’s health.

      • Nope, that would not be acceptable to me either, and fortunately American Public Health administrators agree. That is why – to my earlier point – national Public Health expenditure in the US was increased from 26.7 Billion in 1960 to over 2 Trillion in 2005.

        Health has improved in lockstep with resource availability. Let’s say there was no measles vaccine – do you seriously posit that 60 years later we’d still be experiencing 1950s levels of complications? Come on!

        Look at it another way? In 1960 heath-related spending was 5.1% of GDP; 16.2 % in 2005.
        Break it down even further? Per capita public health spend was $5 in 1960; $60 in 2000.

        “The best alternative to contracting measles is to never become infected in the first place?” You’re entitled to your opinion. Just keep in mind that the symptoms tend to be more severe and the risk of complications higher the later in life you catch them. Personally i like the fact that I had measles and mumps as a child and gained the lifelong immunity; I got chicken pox as an adult and that was quite an ordeal.

        I personally question the wisdom of creating a cohort of people whose lives depend on keeping their booster shots up to date. What happens if the vaccine supply chain gets disrupted? The next big pandemic might not be created by an exotic H?N? virus but by disruption of supply.

        • I believe a valuable and limited resource like healthcare spending is better allotted to diseases for which we need better treatment and preventative measures – heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, AIDS. Why spend money to treat complications from vaccine preventable diseases when these can be avoided all together?

          Without vaccines, it’s plausible that the complications from disease could have improved treatment, but in those 60 years many people would still have died or suffered lifelong disability.

          Two doses of the measles vaccine provide lifelong immunity in 99% of the population. Measles was nearly eradicated, and declared eradicated in the US, in 2000. Cases have since be imported from unvaccinated individuals traveling abroad. If measles vaccination was comprehensive and world-wide, then it could be completely eradicated and no one would need the vaccine, just as smallpox was eradicated and is no longer vaccinated against.

          That is the end goal of vaccination – to eradicate the disease and the need for the vaccine all together. If enough people vaccinate, this is possible. But it is a communal effort and everyone plays a part. It’s part of why non-medical exemptions are problematic, as it distances us from the long term goal of eradication, as well as putting vulnerable people at risk in the short term.

          • Plausible? Now we’re back to speculation? “limited resource” now we’re down to bean counting? I think it’s time you declare defeat Anna, just accept the truth: that regardless of the authoritarian, nanny state instincts you’ve had conditioned into you – you still live in the United States of America, and the First Amendment still stands:

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

            Hence, there can be no prohibition of a religious exemption to vaccines. The law is ready to punish willful neglect, but if you want socialism, there are lots of places where it still flourishes.

          • The First Amendment does not protect religious exemption from compulsory vaccination and no court has ever ruled that that a state is required to provide religious exemption. From Workman v. Mingo County Bd. of Educ.(2009):

            “…that the West Virginia statute requiring vaccinations as a condition of admission to school does not unconstitutionally infringe Workman’s right to free exercise. This conclusion is buttressed by the opinions of numerous federal and state courts that have reached similar conclusions in comparable cases. See, e.g.McCarthy v. Boozman, 212 F. Supp. 2d 945, 948 (W.D. Ark. 2002) (“The constitutional right to freely practice one’s religion does not provide an exemption for parents seeking to avoid compulsory immunization for their school-aged children.”); Sherr v. Northport-East Northport Union Free Sch. Dist., 672 F. Supp. 81, 88 (E.D.N.Y. 1987) (“[I]t has been settled law for many years that claims of religious freedom must give way in the face of the compelling interest of society in fighting the spread of contagious diseases through mandatory inoculation programs.”);
            Davis v. State, 294 Md. 370, 379 n.8, 451 A.2d 107, 112 n.8 (Md. 1982) (“Maryland’s compulsory immunization program clearly furthers the important governmental objective of eliminating and preventing certain communicable diseases.”); Cude v. State 237 Ark. 927, 932, 377 S.W.2d 816, 819 (Ark. 1964) (“According to the great weight of authority, it is within the police power of the State to require that school children be vaccinated against smallpox, and that such requirement does not violate the constitutional rights of anyone, on religious grounds or otherwise.”).”

  1. […] • Rachel Marie Stone writes: “What’s most troubling to me is the casual abuse of the venerable concept of ‘religious freedom’ in order to secure the right to refuse, on dubious scientific grounds, an effective and important public health measure, particularly when very few Americans practice any form of organized religion that specifically proscribes vaccination.” […]

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