By William Newell

Medical technology has miraculously saved millions of lives. Our constitutionally limited, representative government is just as miraculous. Both are designed to improve the human condition. Sometimes though medicine and government clash. The ongoing debate in Oregon concerning religious exemptions from vaccinations exemplifies this conflict.

Over 90 percent of Oregon parents currently vaccinate their children, but the state legislature still passed Senate Bill 132 which requires proof that parents seeking a religious exemption have been notified of the benefits and risks of vaccines. The legislation targets religious individuals because of their beliefs and burdens those individuals with complying to state desires. The Constitution of Oregon makes clear the state’s duty to protect religious liberty under Article 1, Section 3, which reads: “no law shall in any case whatever control the free exercise, and enjoyment of religeous (sic) opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.”

Additionally, placing informed consent stipulations on religious parents serves little purpose because  such information is widely accessible from doctors and government websites. Mandating parents watch a video or see a doctor is not going to change people’s minds. While vaccinating children is worthwhile, this legislation will not be very effective and undermines our precious constitutional rights.

William Newell is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free-market think tank.

 

2 Responses to “The Opportunity to Protect Our Rights and Our Children”

  1. Donna Bleiler June 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    The new law is intended to make it more difficult to exercise religious rights. When I pointed this out to them they responded that it wasn’t taking away religious rights. Apparently, they don’t understand the constitution. This law needs a court challenge. If we let this pass, it sets a bad president.

  2. DJ July 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    So the State wants to break it’s own Constitution by controlling religious rights. So be it say’s the Pharmaceutical Pimp.

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