Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Suit Challenges Scope of Religious Exemption From Vaccination Requirement

Sunday's Kansas City Star reports on a lawsuit filed recently by the grandparents of a 2-year old objecting on religious grounds to the vaccination of their grandson. While Kansas provides a religious exemption from the vaccination requirement, the complication here is that the toddler is in temporary custody of the Kansas Department for Children and Families, but has been placed in foster care with his grandparents.  This gives the state the right to decide on vaccination, even though the child's grandmother has filed a religious exemption statement with the school.  The suit claims that taking the decision away from the family is a violation of the right to privacy.  It also contends that the Kansas exemption statute is vague and imposes an unconstitutional religious test.  The statute requires a parent or guardian to certify "that the child is an adherent of a religious denomination whose religious teachings are opposed to such tests or inoculations."  Apparently the state requires the parent or guardian to name the specific religious denomination and its specific doctrine.  The grandparents say that it is impossible for a two year old child to be "an adherent of a religious denomination."