#Children's Rights
Massachusetts Public Health Committee
United States of America

On 5/31/2019 Representative Andres X. Vargas filed a bill 'An Act relative to vaccinations and public health' which if passed, would remove the right to religious exemption from vaccination for school children.

In Massachusetts, the law provides that every child deserves a public education without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability. Andres Vargas’ proposed elimination of the religious exemption for vaccination is deeply discriminatory, unwarranted and unnecessary.

MA has achieved one of the highest rates of vaccination in the country without coercive means and exceeds levels for herd immunity. There is no public health crisis. There is unlikely to be a public health threat from vaccine preventable illness, given the high rates of vaccination. Furthermore, Massachusetts code already provides for protocols to prevent the spread of communicable illness, through the use of quarantine and temporary school exclusion.

So what does Andres Vargas’s proposed legislation accomplish, given that there is no significant public health threat from communicable illness? It will marginalize children based on their parent’s religious beliefs and exclude children from an education. This will be true, even if a parent declines just one vaccine. Furthermore, it unfairly targets those from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and those from the special needs community, who do not have reasonable alternatives to public education and who depend on public education to counter institutionalized bias and afford equal opportunity, equity and justice.

Massachusetts should continue to lead the way in creative public health solutions to significant public health problems, like the opioid crisis and the rise of mental health issues. We should not needlessly impinge on religious civil liberties and create more public health issues by excluding children from necessary educational and therapeutic services.

Our country was founded on the premise of universal civil liberties. Massachusetts should continue to be a leader in the defense and preservations of those sacred liberties.

We are collecting signatures of MA residents to present, by hand, to the Joint Committee on Public Health the day of the hearing. Your information is not public on this website petition.
We, the undersigned, call on the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health to vote in opposition of H.3999.

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The Oppose H.3999 - A Discriminatory Bill for a Childs Right to an Education in MA, by Removing Religious Exemptions petition to Massachusetts Public Health Committee was written by Health Choice 4 Action and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition.