Should we abolish the religious exemption for mandatory vaccinations?

American Council on Science and Health

October 19, 2010

A thoughtful comment was sent to us recently by Kathleen Hoke Dachille, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. Professor Dachille wrote she agreed with  our call to eliminate the philosophical belief exemption for mandatory childhood vaccines, but went on to say:

I think that some states adopted the standard because the religious exemption issue created too many sticky First Amendment issues — when is a religion a religion; how do we know the exemptor (or his parent) actual practices that religion in a manner than requires exemption?So my question to you is whether you believe that the religious exemption should also be eliminated. I fear if that exemption is not also eliminated, then the personal/philosophical exemptors will turn to these so-called religions that form online and purportedly believe that vaccines are immoral or against God’s will. And states will be faced with blanket acceptance of religious exemption requests (which basically happens in most states now) or lots of litigation on the First Amendment issue. So I think the call should be for the elimination of all but the medical exemption.

Interestingly, my law students and I recently engaged in this discussion in class and there were a lot of serious arguments made and also a lot of emotions displayed.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.