08 August 2008

Religious Exemption from Immunization Requirements Available in Missouri

In the current print edition of the St. Louis Review there is an article bearing the headline "Make sure students' immunizations are up to date before school starts".

This article states that "for school attendance, students should be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and varicella (chicken pox).  It goes on to state that students must present documentation of these immunizations prior to attending school.  

This is fine, because the immunization requirements come from 167.181 RSMo. and the regulations at 19 CSR 20-28.010.

However, the Review article omits two very important facts that some conscientious Catholic parents and students may want to know:  1) two of the vaccines on this list (rubella and varicella) are made using fetal cell lines derived from aborted babies; and, 2) Missouri law specifically allows parents to declare their children exempt from a particular immunization due to their religious beliefs.  

The Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement on the issue of vaccines developed from aborted fetal cell lines.  It is a must read.  It supports the right of parents to object to these vaccines as a matter of conscience.  There are some parents who may decide that they can allow their children to receive these vaccines, but this does not mean that other parents may not legitimately object.

One would hope that the Archdiocesan education department would not only support those parents and students who choose to stand up for the sanctity of human life by refusing to participate in certain immorally-derived immunizations but would at the very least make its families aware of the issue and the existence of the religious exemption available under Missouri law.  Because this information was not included in the Review article, I am including it here.

The relevant Missouri Statute is here.

The relevant Missouri regulations and sample exemption form is here.

The Pontifical Academy for Life document on vaccines is here.

A list of vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines is here ("click on vaccine sources" link at left).


Anonymous said...

Just to add one thing please - if an alternative (i.e. not derived from aborted fetus cell lines) vaccine is available, the morally correct thing to do is immunize your child with it. If an alternative vaccine is not available, it is morally acceptable to vaccinate your children with the vaccine derived from aborted fetus cells for the sake of your own children and of other individuals.

Peter said...

I was not aware of this at all.
What are possible alternative to vaccinating our children in a holy and ethical manner?

thetimman said...

anon, I am all for vaccinations generally, provided they are safe and do not cooperate in the evil of abortion. The children of God for life website that I link to in this post (vaccine sources link) has information on ethical alternatives. I am not weighing in with this post on any dangers from vaccines from the medical perspective. I am limiting my comments to the immoral derivation of some vaccines.

The Pontifical Academy for Life document also linked in the post is essential reading, and covers the moral dilemmae quite well. I submit my private judgements to the Church in every respect.

Just as an example, one could make a case for vaccination against rubella though there are no morally acceptable alternatives in the US. Even then, there are responsibilities for the person accepting this vaccine to make one's opposition known. Read the PAL document.

Peter, I would recommend the cogforlife.org site generally.

thetimman said...

Maire, can you email me with your conclusions on that subject? Email address at the side bar.