This worksheet is to help you put together your reasons for refusing to immunize on religious or philosophical grounds. There is no need to show this sheet to anyone. You do not need anyone's permission or verification to take this kind of exemption.
Philosophical exemptions are fairly simple. All that is required for you to be able to use this exemption is that: (1) your state allows a philosophical exemption and (2) you are philosophically opposed to immunization. There is no state law that I am aware of that requires that you must explain your philosophical reasoning to anyone.
Religious exemptions are a little more complicated. Many states have a clause in their religious exemption that requires the exemptor to be a member or an adherent of a religious organization that has a written tenet opposing immunization. This appears to mean that the exemptor must either change religious affiliations or lie in order to claim the exemption if they don't belong to such a group. Or, so it would seem! Fortunately, that isn't the case.
Religious rights are guaranteed in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. States must prove a compelling state interest is at stake in order to ignore this. US Supreme Court decisions have upheld the rights of individuals seeking exemptions from immunizations based upon "personal" religious beliefs. In Frazee v. Illinois Dept. of Security, 489 US 829, 1989, they ruled a state may not deny an exemption simply because a person is not a member of a formal religious organization. The Supreme Court has also noted that nontraditional beliefs, including secular humanism, atheism, and nontheistic faiths, are all "religion" for the purpose of free exercise analysis. Fowler v. Rhode Island, 345 U.S. 67 (1953) held that it was "no business of the courts to say what is a religious practice or activity for one group is not religion under the protection of the First Amendment."
If you are challenged by your child's school, your employer, or other authority, you don't have to explain your reasoning, give your religious affiliation, or otherwise prove your right to refuse on religious grounds. If the state law requires the exemption in writing, all you have to do is present your written form. Notarization is required by some states.
Wording your exemption like the state law is helpful in avoiding challenges, but not necessary. Explaining that US law supersedes state law is pointless in most cases. Just hand them the form and refuse to debate the issue.
So why this form?? It may help to clarify your reasons for refusing vaccines and help you to see why your convictions are allowable under the law. Here are some questions which may help:
1. Do you believe that you have been gifted by God, a Higher Power, a divine source with this child and that you have the right to determine what is best for your child?
2. Do you believe that your religious convictions apply to your child?
3. Do you believe vaccines can hurt your child's immune system by by-passing all or most of the normal methods created in your child's body to fight disease, thereby ignoring the Master Plan?
4. Do you believe the use of toxic substances like mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum sulfate, phenol, and other toxins used in the manufacture of vaccines violates your conviction about what kinds of substances should be introduced into the human body?
5. Do you believe that the use of tissue from aborted babies is morally wrong, especially when those tissues obtained by intentionally aborting a child who had been exposed to the disease?
6. Do you believe the use of biological waste (diseased pus, fecal matter, urine, etc.) in vaccine manufacturing violates your conviction about what kinds of substances should be introduced into the human body?
7. Do you believe that the use of animal genetic material to culture disease can, in fact, cause disease to cross species and cause damage to human genetic material? Do you believe this use of animal materials violates your religious convictions?
8. Do you believe that living in fear of disease is healthy or in keeping with your faith?
9. Do you believe good nutrition, good personal hygiene, and sanitary living is more likely to keep your body healthy than injecting it with toxins, waste, and disease?
10. Are you willing to buck the system and fight for your rights and the rights of your child to abstain from immunizations?
If you answer "Yes" to questions 1 and 2 and any one of the other eight questions, you are free to use a religious exemption regardless of what religion (or none) you profess.
If you now need a religious exemption letter, you can find information on the Religious Exemptions page.
Form created February, 2001 by Kathy Rateliff. You may contact her at Titus2@flash.net if you have questions or comments.
Want to know more about the issue of vaccine choice?
Titus 2 Birthing has a 42-page packet to help parents look at some of the issues regarding vaccine choice. This packet includes the above form plus many other helpful documents. Topics include: vaccine safety, disease frequency in the US, Vaccine Refusal Form, exemption information, religious concerns about vaccines, immunization registry information, vaccinations and premature babies, vaccines and immune supression, the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons policy on mandatory vaccines, additional resources, and Jock Doubleday's challenge for immunization providers to drink a vaccine additive cocktail.
If you are interested in getting a copy of this packet, contact Kathy at the above email address and she will be glad give you all of the details.
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