2016 Bills

HB221: Imposing Hurdles for Parental Choice in Vaccinating Children

This bill passed the House 38-37, was substituted in the Senate to be a much different bill, passed 22-1, but was not considered by the House after being changed.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill.

Current law in Utah allows a parent of a child in a public or private school to abstain from (or delay) vaccinations based on a personal or religious exemption. To qualify, parents must obtain and complete a form from their local health department to claim the exemption. The signed form is filed with the child’s school.

Close to 20 states provide for a personal exemption from vaccination requirements, and nearly all provide for religious exemptions. Most recently, the law in California was changed to prohibit the personal exemption, becoming the third state to do so in addition to West Virginia and Mississippi.

Representative Carol Spackman Moss has sponsored House Bill 221, which imposes a variety of hurdles and requirements on parents seeking the personal exemption for the vaccinations of their children in government schools.

Presently, exemption forms are one-time affairs. Once complete, they are attached to the student’s permanent school record and are transferred with that record to the student’s new school, should the student’s family move. HB221 would require parents to annually submit a new form for medical exemptions, and complete an “online education module,” as explained below. Completion of these forms often carries a fee for each child, in addition to the increased time burden required each year as a condition of receiving the exemption.

Those wishing to claim a personal or religious exemption must submit a form one time only, yet every year must complete the “online education module.” This government propaganda portal will contain information about vaccine preventable illnesses, recommendations on how unvaccinated individuals should behave to minimize the risk of contracting or transmitting a vaccine preventable illness, information about vaccine benefits and side effects, and interactive questions or activities.

Completion of this online course is mandatory—never mind the fact that many parents who delay or abstain from vaccination for their children do so after significant study of medical research and the benefits and risks of vaccinations. Requiring parents to be indoctrinated from biased sources of information (because the government rarely admits to the risks involved in vaccinating children) is violative of their fundamental rights as the stewards of their children’s information.