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Vaccination Legislation


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#1 Snag

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 08:37 PM

There is a bill proposed in the NJ legislature whereby parents of children in the public school system will no longer be able to abstain from vaccinating their children by claiming a religious exemption, unless they can present proof that vaccinating violates a tenet of their religion.

The AMA published a paper wherein they propose that the religious exemption be abolished altogether, and parents be forced to vaccinate in the absence of a pressing medical reason not to.

What do you think of these proposals?

Personally, I am leery of government weighing in on religious questions, and even more concerned about abrogating religious freedoms altogether. On the other hand, I do recognize the argument that this is not solely a personal liberty issue, but one of public health, which will suffer if herd immunity minimums are not reached.

As an aside, I think anti-vaxers are somewhat shooting themselves in the foot with their aggressive advocacy, since the sharply increased number of those opting out of the vaccines is what drives legislation like this. In a similar vein, I told an uberfrum friend of mine that while I, personally, support secular gay marriage on legal and moral grounds, every frum person should at the least not oppose it, since the opposition serves largely to keep the issue in the public eye, which erodes the very moral clarity they claim to seek to preserve.
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#2 Indigo

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:23 AM

I doubt anyone really has a religious argument. What normal religion says in their holy scripture thou shalt not vaccinate?

Rather, they dont want to vaccinate, and if denied access to school, that's a violation of their religion.

Alternatively, their religion thou shalt obey your clergy, and their clergymen oppose vaccination for whatever reason. But again it isn't a principle of their religion of thou shalt not vaccinate.

Maybe their is some religion otherwise. But certainly not judaism. Jews who oppose vaccination happen to be jewish and oppose vaccination. But judaism itself does not forbid vaccination. Rather it opposes not being allowed to go to school and opposes not blindly following its rabbis.

#3 warren

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:24 AM

I am also dubious about secular courts ruling on what religions require, on the other hand what if people request an exemption for something that their religion really doesn't forbid? I need 3 hours off each afternoon to go to the mikva (in case I had a keri during lunch), spend an hour preparing for mincha, and then an hour to daven. Come to think of it, wasn't there a hospital mashgiach who was fired for spending too much time away from his job for mincha every day? My imamother spy tells me that there are frequently questions like "how do I lie about what Judaism says so I can be yoteit the shita of Harabbanit Jenny McCarthy" (that's probably not exactly how they put it, but that's how I remember it ...) but I haven't heard that anyone has answered it (except for the requirement to look after ones health, and I wonder if there's been another case where someone wants to do A for that reason but the medical profession says to do otherwise).

Have there been any more anti-vax mailings in LW or was that a one-time thing? I searched for PEAR which I think was the name of the organization involved with that previous anti-vax mailing (or maybe it was mailbox stuffing rather than actual mail) but all I found was a graphic that a pear (the fruit) has more formaldehyde than a vaccine.

ETA: The mashgiach was not fired for going to mincha, but for not clocking out when he want.
http://www.ishtetl.c...gacha/?p=105204
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#4 Snag

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:53 AM

I agree that Judaism does not forbid vaccinating (personally, I'd argue that it actually mandates vaccinating, but whatever), and that's why I'm kind of in favor of the first bill - I think the ability to claim religious exemption without any checks or balances actually erodes religious freedom. On the other hand, this legislation will not impact frummies much, because they don't send to public schools, and the private schools who require vaccinations are less likely to be easily fooled about what their religion requires anyway.
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#5 Master Zed

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:42 AM

What if my religion is being "crunchy"....


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#6 David

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 11:51 AM

...
As an aside, I think anti-vaxers are somewhat shooting themselves in the foot with their aggressive advocacy, since the sharply increased number of those opting out of the vaccines is what drives legislation like this. In a similar vein, I told an uberfrum friend of mine that while I, personally, support secular gay marriage on legal and moral grounds, every frum person should at the least not oppose it, since the opposition serves largely to keep the issue in the public eye, which erodes the very moral clarity they claim to seek to preserve.

 

Doesn't secular gay marriage transgress the Noachide laws, making it morally wrong?

 

"the opposition serves largely to keep the issue in the public eye, which erodes the very moral clarity they claim to seek to preserve."

 

What about being a "light unto the nations?"

 

I'd like to better understand your point of view.



#7 Snag

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 02:32 PM

Doesn't secular gay marriage transgress the Noachide laws, making it morally wrong?

"the opposition serves largely to keep the issue in the public eye, which erodes the very moral clarity they claim to seek to preserve."

What about being a "light unto the nations?"

I'd like to better understand your point of view.

As far as objective right or wrong, despite my being an Orthodox Jew, and thus believing in the teachings of my faith, I don't see any reason for the government to accept my religion's rules over those of any other, or even over abstract and/or arbitrary rules of morality imposed by atheistic man. As such, I don't see how the government can mandate following the rules of my - or any - religion.

Moreover, do we really support mandating observance of the Noahide laws? Are we moving to institute a death penalty for those engaging on male homosexual relationships? For blasphemers? For gentiles consuming kosher livers? And, conversely, are we only against gay marriage, but indifferent about lesbian unions? To the best of my knowledge, lesbianism is not prohibited for Noahides.

As far as being a light unto the nations, although that herring seems ssuspiciously incarnadine to me, that is exactly the point I was making: at this juncture, vocal opposition to gay marriage serves very little purpose as far as delegitimizing homosexuality. Rather, it causes the supporters of gay marriage to employ equal volume, keeping the reality of homosexual relationships very much in the public eye and mind, and diminishing the 'moral equilibrium' those opposing it claim to seek.
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#8 politico

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 03:49 PM

There is a bill proposed in the NJ legislature whereby parents of children in the public school system will no longer be able to abstain from vaccinating their children by claiming a religious exemption, unless they can present proof that vaccinating violates a tenet of their religion.

The AMA published a paper wherein they propose that the religious exemption be abolished altogether, and parents be forced to vaccinate in the absence of a pressing medical reason not to.
 

 

 

I agree that Judaism does not forbid vaccinating (personally, I'd argue that it actually mandates vaccinating, but whatever), and that's why I'm kind of in favor of the first bill - I think the ability to claim religious exemption without any checks or balances actually erodes religious freedom.

 

Does the bill stipulate what counts as proof of religious violation?


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#9 Snag

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 04:41 PM

Does the bill stipulate what counts as proof of religious violation?

Not that I know of.
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#10 politico

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 04:59 PM

Yeah, that's a problem.


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#11 David

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:14 PM

This may be the bill:
 
SENATE, No. 1147
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
216th LEGISLATURE
INTRODUCED JANUARY 30, 2014
SYNOPSIS: Clarifies statutory exemptions from mandatory immunizations for students.
http://www.njleg.sta...500/1147_I1.PDF

#12 Snag

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:56 PM

Yeah, that's a problem.

Agreed. Will a clergyman's testimony be sufficient, or will one have to demonstrate to a judge's satisfaction which religious law is being violated?
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#13 David

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 06:24 PM

The document I linked above, assuming it's the right one, has details on the requirements for religious exemption.

#14 cynic

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 07:08 PM

The state can't determine if your religious claim is valid, it's not allowed to. As long as you state you have a deeply held religious belief then it's a valid religious exemption. I did see a dropbox document from a Jewish parent in Long Island who claimed a religious exemption.

If you want to see an analysis of halacha and vaccines, you can check out Hakirah journal by Asher Bush I believe and of course the Conservative movement's teshuvah on this. And of course, let's not forget the wonderful work of R' Shmuel Kaminetzky who tells schools they must accept a kid even if he's not vaccinated.






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