"Conscientious Exemption"?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
"Conscientious Exemption"?
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 3:54pm
Update on the new Texas “Conscientious Exemption” to vaccination; here comes the expected “backlash” from those who fear actual parental choice. (This same story has appeared in newspapers all over the state in the last few days)


The question of the day/week:

For those who profess to be in favor of informed choice, do you have a problem with this new law? If so, why? And how do you reconcile your objections to parents being granted the right to freely and actually CHOOSE (without having to fit some narrow criteria deemed legitimate by those who prefer to see every child “fully vaccinated”) with your stated support for “informed consent”, “parental choice”, and the “voluntary nature of vaccination”?

Should the procedure(s) ONLY be “voluntary” for those few who are willing and able to surrender their rights to a public education/social inclusion among “everyone else”? Should the exercise of “informed consent” /“parental choice” incur legislated penalties or should it be un -coerced and applicable to all? Perhaps it should only be available to those who can somehow prove their intelligence/fitness as parents/provide an acceptable rationale for their objection? If so, how should those criteria be established and determined?

Here is your chance to explain your position, if you care to and can.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 5:53pm

You said...


I can say that I do not agree with it ... no...but that is MY choice. MY Feelings. If YOU the parent do not want to vax your child so be it..I fear for them getting a VPD. Thats all. For one I dont fear MY vaccinated children catching ANTHING from your NON vaccinated children. Heck they will get a cold from other kids faster...lol JMO. I think that its better to have parents able to say " hey we have made a concious decision and we dont want them vaccinated" rather then going in and saying " my "religion" says not to vaccinate. I think it is better to make it a seperate thing considering NOT all religious state non vax and some people who use it are not really "religous" if you get what I mean?


Personally if I am taking this ?? the right way...I reconcile my objections while saying I agree with CHOICE by saying..I am NOT EVERY childs parent. Every parent has a choice on how they want to raise their children. I for one do not believe in MAKING anyone do something just because I believe in it. I have the right to NOT agree with things that is MY right...but I dont IMO have the right to shove things on others. DO I think vaccinations are important? Yep i do...but you know what I have a choice...so do you. THAT is freedom. I can give a parent my reasons FOR vaxing and if they see something in what I said that makes them change their minds Hey great...if they still dont believe its right for them then that is ALRIGHT too. If you cant tell I am not one to force an issue on someone ... I will tell about how sick my daughter was..I will say that it is better to have them vaccinated then not..but I wont say " you are a horriable parent and you are going to kill your kid if you dont vaccinate" LOL NOPE wont see that happen LOL.

Here is your chance to explain your position, if you care to and can.>>

Well I will TRY to explain lol somtimes it may not sound as if I can lol.

I dont think that making a parent SHOW they are intelligant would make any sense. I mean look at the parents out there today who we all KNOW should not be having kids. Again I say IF you dont want to vaccinate your kids FINE..your choice. I do not think that this law should be passed and then all these people turn nasty on the parents who are non vaxing families. To me THAT is not right. If you pass a law let it be and let the people use that law the way it was MENT to be used. MY only issue is I am sick of hearing people you DONT vax tell me that I am DAMAGING MY kids. If I dont throw stones at them then heck stones should not be thrown my way either. I as a parent have made MY informed choice. ONe I THINK is important to the health and well being of MY children.

I hope that I have explained myself ok..I hope you understand where I am coming from.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 8:33pm
Carla, yes, I understand where you are coming from, and thanks for your input!

Bottom line, I gather, is that YOU are NOT someone who professes to be in favor of informed consent/parental choice BUT..LOL! You do not have a problem with this law, as far as I can tell. You walk your talk in this regard, supporting choice for everyone, even when you disagree with their particular choice. (Otherwise, you would just support CERTAIN "choices", not "Choice";)

Again, thank you for your views! I am honestly interested in hearing from people on this:)


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 07-05-2003 - 10:00pm
Just wanted to add some pers. views on the article;

One thing I find interesting in this article is the suggestion that parents who "wait 'till the last minute" to get the "required vaccinations" will use this exemption to get around getting it done at all.

Hmmm, so they, lacking any actual objection to the procedure, will take the time, trouble, (try holding for/getting through to the health dept. in any big city in Tx. someday!) and expense (yes, it costs money to get something notarized) to claim this exemption RATHER than just take a lesser amount of time, trouble, and money (free or nearly so vaccinations offered all the time, all over, and CHIP, the public health program for the poor covers vaccinations OR a private app. to get them would likely run one less time and money than claiming the ex) to meet the requirements?

I do not buy it. Lame argument using the old "ignorant/lazy masses" angle, imo; A fear/ignorance/emotion based appeal aimed at planting the idea of thousands of "disease-prone" children from "bad/poor/neglectful" families putting YOUR children at risk.

The "lazy" will simply end up with no vaccinations AND no exemption, lol, and be subject to the same exclusion rules they are now. Why in the WORLD would a parent in such a situation EVER prefer the (at least as) costly and time consuming avenue of this exemption to just getting the "shots for school"? Makes absolutely NO sense for anyone without sincere objections to take advantage of the law in this way, considering it is NOT any easier or cheaper. It is NOT just a case of signing a form at the school/DC/verbally expressing "objections" and that's that, which might very well attract some small percentage of "abusers" for convinience's sake.

Whereas those who actually CARE and have sincere objections which have heretofore been "disqualified", and who require an exemption, will be lined up for their exemption forms Sept. 1st. (not likely to be vast numbers; even in states with this type of exemption, only a 1-5%, on average, take advantage of it)

Further, the suggestion was made that "many" of those who might choose to claim this exemption are just victims of bad information/scare tactics. Again, an appeal to prejudice, superiority, and fear. And what would we EXPECT staunch proponents of vaccination to say? How would we EXPECT them to characterize the concerns of those who choose to pass on their "pet procedure"? LOL! More to the point, is this about informed choice or limiting a parent's choice to a particular option based on a particular set/source of information?

"Many" parents make the decision TO vaccinate based on no or very limited and biased information; should THEIR choice be called into question? Is it ever? Should the implication be made that they are just lazy or neglectful parents because they do what is easiest/don't take the time and trouble to carefully consider something so important to their child's health? Of course not, because THEIR "choice" is considered to be the "right" one;) Not a great deal of concern about "ignorance" or "limited information" expressed there. Which calls into question the actual nature of the concern; that parents be "informed" of all aspects of the decision or that parents "comply" with a particular view?

Is there now, or is there ever likely to be, any agreement between the "opposing" views on vaccination upon which to reach any consensus as to what constitutes a "valid" concern?

Or does any suggestion that only "good"/"correct" information be used in reaching a decision simply result in a blanket acceptance of the prevalent "pro-vaccine" position?

The result being the official position that any parent who is truly "informed" MUST choose TO vaccinate?

Or FTM, can there ever be any one blanket position re' vaccination which is assumed to apply to ALL children? And who should decide which children any such position applies to? (interestingly, one complaint of opponents to this law is that a clause requiring that any exempted child be the sibling of a child who had suffered a prior vaccine reaction was removed in committee; again with the litmus testing and hoops for parents to meet/jump through before any degree of supposed CHOICE is allowed! They favored what essential amounts to a medical exemption by proxy, NOT any form of unhindered CHOICE. Also, these same opponents are not pleased that the legislation explicitly forbids any harrasment by or action against parents due to their choice not to vaccinate; apparently, they prefer a system in which such threats and litigation is permitted as a means of coercing compliance/penalizing “non-compliers”)

Finally, the last line of the article (edited out in this version) was that the CDC recently declared "the control of infectious diseases with vaccination" the number one health-related achievement of the "past 100 years". This, of course, represents the "official" version/position, which some seek to impose on everyone as "the correct view".

An alternative view is that to rank vaccination as the number one health advance in the past century is amazingly inaccurate and biased; that such advances as improved working and living conditions (including OSHA safety regulations, EPA controls on pollution, the 40 hr work wk, an end to child labor, “slum lord“ laws, minimum wages, access to birth control, and the increased political and economic power of women), nutrition, sanitation (including indoor plumbing and refrigeration), antibiotics, and a multitude of other factors easily vie for recognition as the singular most important advance, and, combined, FAR outweigh mass vaccination in importance.

Are we to adopt the official position that the CDC view is “correct” and the alternative view is “incorrect”? Because this particular point is one of the cruxes of the whole debate. (alongside the core issue of personal freedom of choice/freedom from forced medical procedures)