Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Challenge To Missouri Vaccination Exemption Form Is Dismissed

Reiterating his reasoning in a November preliminary injunction decision, a Missouri federal district judge in W.B. v. Crossroads Academy- Central Street, (WD MO, Jan. 10, 2020), dismissed a challenge to the form that Missouri requires to be completed in order to claim a religious exemption for a school child from vaccination requirements. The form contains language strongly encouraging parents to obtain vaccinations for their children. The court said in part:
I again conclude that if the State wishes to require vaccination of school children, there is an unbroken collection of cases confirming that it can do so. It can also advocate vaccination... Such advocacy (right or wrong) deals with public health issues. It is entirely secular in nature and motive, not “hostile to religion.” For instance, it would not be hostile to a religious objection to eating pork for an agency to certify that pork is safe to eat. The certification, like the DHSS language here, is religiously neutral.... There is also no case-law cited by plaintiffs tending to show that parents are subject to a compelled speech regime when the DHSS message appears at the top of the exemption form that they are required to fill out. The text is in no way ambiguous as to the source of the vaccination recommendation.
NPR reports on the decision.