Inspired by the California Senate’s recent efforts to repeal the state’s exemption from vaccine requirements, Jerry Coyne argues on Slate that lawmakers across the United States should repeal religious exemptions from medical care:
As preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough are reappearing in the United States, many anti-vaxxers are re-evaluating their opposition to immunization, and others are questioning nonmedical exemptions from vaccine requirements. The California state Senate, for instance, just overruled a long-standing law that permitted parents with religious and philosophical reservations to send their children to public and private schools without their shots.
This is a sound decision: Vaccinations are safe and essential for the health of our society. We cannot allow philosophy or faith to trump public health. But denying children potentially life-saving vaccines is just one part of the problem; I’d like to eliminate even more exemptions: those now enshrined in many laws permitting religious parents to withhold scientific medical care from their children in favor of faith healing.
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