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Parents challenge vaccine requirements on religious grounds

While surveys show that 40% of Americans say they may not take the COVID vaccine, parents in Missouri are challenging the state’s mandatory vaccination policy in court. In presentations before a judge on Tuesday, they testified that the state requires them to go through a forced indoctrination session to religiously opt out of vaccines required for their children to attend school.

The FDA, in approving the vaccines in late fall, acknowledged that all trials had not been completed and issued special waivers of liability to pharmaceutical companies. The move took away any legal protection for individuals who may be harmed by the vaccine.

“This is a hybrid rights case,” plaintiffs’ attorney Linus Baker told a three-judge panel via a teleconference hearing, according to Courthouse News Service. “It has many fundamental rights. These parents cannot raise these children the way they want, they cannot provide informed consent, the children’s bodily integrity is violated. The parents have to violate their own religious beliefs, and they have to speak, they have to communicate, and all that together says that neutral generally acceptable law does not apply.”

READ: Pro-life groups look at ethics involving various vaccine options

The state’s Movax Law requires all children attending school to have a certain set of vaccines. They believe the law requires parents to involuntarily consent to a set of vaccines over a period of years with the risk of permanent harm to their children. The parents claim the law violates their religious rights, free speech, their children’s due process rights to bodily integrity, their right to parental consent, equal protection and the right to an education.

According to their brief, the parents argue that in order to exempt their children from getting vaccinated they must fill out a document called, “Form 11,” which forces them to speak their private religious objection to a school administrator. They also must get the form at a local health department where they say they are subjected to efforts to dissuade them from their religious beliefs.

Missouri Deputy Solicitor General Jesus Osete, representing the defendants, refuted Baker’s claim that filling out Form 11 would be a regular occurrence. “In terms of them having to do this every year or every school year, [filling out Form 11] is one time per child,” he said.

Missouri says there is no limit to any particular religion, and it does not require parents to agree with the state’s explanation of vaccination benefits. Due to these factors, the state argues that Form 11 does not compel speech from parents, restrain their speech or infringe on any other constitutional rights.

The case is being looked at closely as businesses, schools and local governments formalize vaccination policy requirements.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice