States Should Eliminate Personal and Religious Exemptions to Required School Vaccinations
CON (3 arguments)
Weighing Mechanism: Whatever doesn’t violate our Constitutional rights as US citizens.
Forcing such parents to vaccinate their children would violate the 1st Amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to the free exercise of their religion. Some parents religions do not permit vaccination and freedom of religion is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution. States have the obligation to respect individual freedom, and governments should not have the right to intervene in the health decisions parents make for their children.
Several legal cases involving the constitutionality of religious exemptions to vaccination have been tried. Courts have often found that requiring parents belong to certain religious groups to qualify for religious exemptions violates the First Amendment and the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. The argument is that the Equal Protection clause should protect all people who claim a religious objection to vaccination, not only those who belong to a certain religion with recognized objections. Additionally, we are not talking about taking the Constitutional rights of just a few people - in California alone, the elimination of personal and religious exemptions affects the 80,000 students who claim personal belief exemptions for vaccines annually. Not only does this violate the parents’ freedom of religion under Article 1 of the US Constitution, but preventing children from attending school because they are not vaccinated is a violation of California’s State Constitution, which provides for a child’s right to an education.
US Constitution, state Constitutions and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
There are sometimes very serious and unforeseeable complications from a child receiving a vaccine, and a parent should have the right to protect their child from these risks.
Robert Fletcher was given the MMR vaccine as a child, and his mother stated, “The seizure occurred ten days after the vaccination. Robert is severely disabled as a result of vaccination. Robert is nearly 19 but mentally he is like a 14-month-old toddler. He can’t stand unaided. He is prone to various illnesses and last week suffered around 40 severe epileptic seizures.” Robert was suffering from an adverse reaction to the MMR vaccine. Also, some diseases we vaccinate against are so rare, yet the vaccines still carry the risk of serious side effects. For example, Hepatitis B does not even affect children (less than 1% of all reported victims are under the age of 15), yet it carries some risk of adverse effects up to and including death. For less dangerous diseases such as measles and chickenpox, natural immunity is preferable because it is 100% effective. Vaccines contain known toxins and carcinogens such as aluminum and thimerosal. Varicella side effects are similar to the disease; naturally acquired disease provides lifetime immunity, whereas vaccination requires boosters. Consequently, vaccinations should not be mandatory. The government shouldn’t force individuals to take risks with their own health against their wishes.
The London Daily Telegraph newspaper
As the Liberty Counsel points out, the federal government actually pays families where vaccines have killed or disabled children nearly $100 million dollars each year and has done so since 1986, through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Since the first Vaccine Injury Compensation claims were made in 1989, 3,000 compensation payments have been made, close to $3 billion has been disbursed to petitioners and $91 million paid to cover attorney’s fees and other legal costs. To date, 9,500 claims have been dismissed. Of those, 3,600 claimants were paid $50 million to cover attorney’s fees and other legal costs. Aside from the human tragedy caused by side effects of mandatory vaccination programs, this is a tremendous loss of money to our nation’s budget that could be better spent benefitting society with improved healthcare, infrastructure and education.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration