• Let the vaccine exemption stand
    February 17,2012

    Let vaccine exemption stand

    Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Constitution, urged that a medical freedom amendment be added to the Bill of Rights, predicting that one branch of medicine would come to dominate the rest. A current dispute in the Vermont legislature validates his concern: The philosophical exemption to the vaccines required to enter childcare or school would be eliminated if Senate bill 199 and House bill 527 pass.

    There has been enough public outcry in response to this possibility that legislators are no longer considering entirely doing away with the exemption. Vermont Health Commissioner Harry Chen suggests as a compromise that a doctor’s signature be required before the form is submitted.

    I object to this proposal. It is like being allowed to vote only if someone else signs the ballot.

    Parents have the difficult responsibility of weighing the risks of communicable diseases against the risks of vaccines themselves. They deserve the respect and privacy afforded to voters, who must be trusted to make their own informed decisions in the polling booth, free from pressure or influence of any who may feel they have the “right” answer, whether they be other parents, relatives, neighbors, politicians or doctors.

    Treat parents as adults. Let the philosophical amendment stand as it is.

    Charlotte Gilruth


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