Texas Wins Conscientious Exemption!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Texas Wins Conscientious Exemption!
5
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 3:07pm
Big news from here! Not a perfect change, but MUCH better than the current religious/medical exemptions only law. AND it contains language forbidding "punitive action" against parents for not vaccinating (say, by child protective).

Almost certain to become law, since it is part of other, sure to be signed, legislation, but also because the governor has gone on record in the past as supporting a conscientious exemption for Texas parents.

From PROVE (http://vaccineinfo.net/index.shtml) ; "After 7 years of working to get a conscientious/philosophical exemption in Texas, I would like to let you know that one was finally passed last night. Unless the Governor vetoes the bill which contains it (it is highly unlikely because the bill restructures Health and Human Services Agencies saving the Texas Taxpayers over one billion dollars), Texas can now be added to the states that have a conscientious exemption.

If accepted by the governor, the law would go into effect for September 1, 2003. The details of how this will work with the upcoming school year and overlapping statutes with the beginning of school will have to be worked out since most schools in Texas start before September 1.

While the language is not what we had worked on and is far from ideal by our standards because it actually makes it more difficult to use the exemption than the current law (you will now have to really plan ahead and use a state created form that can only be obtained from the health department and then have it notarized before submitting the letter to the school), the exemption is far more encompassing than current law as it would include anybody who wanted to use it "for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief." We believe this may help parents who are subjected to the current religious inquisitions and harassment at schools and day care facilities since a signed notarized standardized state exemption form is not subject to debate over validity by school or day care admission like our letters are now. It is unfortunate though that parents will have to go through the hurdle of having to make a written request to the Health Department to obtain the form and then have it notarized instead of a per

We are very excited about another provision in this same bill that prohibits a health and human services agency (including the Health Department and Child Protective Services) from taking punitive action against a parent for not immunizing their child. Here the definition of punitive action includes "the initiation of an investigation of a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare for alleged or suspected abuse, or neglect of a child." In other words, we finally have it in law that for those of us choosing to refuse or delay a vaccine, Child Protective Services cannot be used as a club to coerce or scare parents. A parent's decision will have to be respected and protected. This is an incredible acknowledgement by the state in favor of parental rights. Educating parents about this provision in law will give them the strength to stand up to the coercive doctors who threaten CPS if the child is not given every shot under the sun. "

Kimberly


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 3:43pm
Aside from the requirement for notarization, sounds good. I think having a standard from that protects a wider group will end up being a much more protective law.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 8:15pm
Yep. No more jumping through arbitrary hoops to justify informed choice:)

However, it should be pointed out that the current religious exemption ALSO requires notarization of a form/statement of belief, so this is not any more onerous in that respect.

Kimberly
Avatar for lucky30605
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 10:55am
Just curious. What religion do you have to belong to to be exempt from vaxing? And I wonder, too, what the reasoning behind it is?

Lucky

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 1:37pm
Well, as far as I know, Christian Science (who do not accept the "illiusion" of illness/death, and rely upon their Divine nature/God in all matters of health and healing) and Amish (who likewise prefer faith over human intervention and may also follow the Biblical guidlines against avoiding the ingestion of blood and "keeping the Temple of the Living God (the body) holy and pure")in many areas, are considered officially opposed to the practice, and recognized. Jehovah's Witnesses, however, also have commonly held proscriptions which would contradict vaccination (since it could, technically, be considered a blood product, which they do not accept, due to their interpretation of the Biblical passage admonishing "not to eat of blood, for the life is in the blood, etc.") Such passages form the basis for aspects of Jewish dietary/Kosher slaughtering rules as well.

But try finding out which religions are recognized in your/any state, LOL! Seems to be a closely guarded secret in many cases;)

There are past and on-going challenges to such state requirements regarding a particular religion, however, based on the constitutional protections against such government interference in religious matters.

Many recommend simply preparing a statement to the effect that vaccination conflicts with your "deeply held, sincere religious beliefs", and leaving it at that.

According to the State DPS and Health Dept. web sites here in Texas, they are NOT allowed to demand the indentity or nature of the religion being claimed (likely due to pending suits on the matter, lol!)

Kimberly

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 8:04am
Yipee!!!! Maybe other states will follow! :oD