Catholic Schools and Non-Immunizing Families

[quote=Cupofkindness]I’ve never “vaxed” out of ignorance, but out of gratitude that my children have access to the greatest medical care system in the history of mankind. Moreover, I think I’ve acknowledged in each post that I recognize the possible tragic negative affects of vaccines, which by the way, have never been definitely proven by scores of scientists to cause conditions such as autism in children. Moreover, those who don’t vaccinate their children will never truly know if their child might have had a bad reaction to a shot, since only a tiny fraction of a percent do so anyway. So the odds are vastly in favor of immunizations, it is a wager most parents will win time and time again. Good for you for determining the best way to get immunizations. It it people like you that the medical establishment needs to hear from. Have you written any letters to the medical community, national health organizations, or to drug companies outlining your approach to childhood immunizations?

The point I’m trying to make is that if Juli can’t follow the rules for reasons of conscience, her family should leave the school without a protest. That would be the logical consequence of her God-given right to raise her children according to her privately held beliefs. Since that is not the stance of the Catholic Church and it is unlikely that the diocese is going to change the policy for her family, she will only be happy if she finds a school that will accomodate her children. We’ll see what Juli decides, a lot is on the line when the decision means you might pull your children out of a school that they are thriving in.
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i already stated that she should homeschool if the catholic school insists on vax so we are in agreement there. i haven’t written any letters ov vaxing yet, i have other passions i’m currenlty educating people on but that is a good idea. i’m at least a good example for my family members on informed consent and balancing what the docotors say with what research i do on my own not letting either one take over. more of a check and balance type system. my frustatration is when people bombard a poster with long replies that ‘i think’ will be of no use to them. that’s all…many blessings

The morally problematic vaccines are for rubella, chickenpox and Hepatitis A. Rubella, from what I’ve been able to learn, is not usually serious in children–rather, it is more serious if pregnant women contract it because it can cause birth defects in the unborn child. Chickenpox is a nuisance, but rarely serious illness (except in older children and adults – and the vaccine is good for only 10 years, so it leaves open the possibility of contracting chickenpox at an older age unless the person continues to get re-vaccinated every 10 years). Hepatitis A, even according to the hand-out I received from my daughter’s school, is easily prevented with good hygiene.

There is a rubella vaccine used in Japan that has a safe track record, and it was developed using cells swabbed from inside the mouth of an infected child, not the tissue of aborted babies, like the US vaccine was. However, the FDA continues to hold up its distribution in this country.

Merck makes vaccines for Mumps and Measles (that are normally combined with the problematic rubella vaccine into one MMR vaccine, that is the most widely used), that are not derived from aborted fetal tissue, but try finding a doctor’s office that will order them for you so you can at least get your child vaccinated against those illnesses while still abstaining from the rubella vaccine – fat chance!

For those of you who don’t see the big deal about these tainted vaccines, just check out the www.cogforlife.org website. One article I read by someone who isn’t even pro-life said that pro-lifers are acting inconsistently if they approve the use of the tainted vaccines yet oppose embryonic stem cell research. In both cases, human beings are killed to provide medical treatment. If we think it’s okay to kill unborn children to make vaccines, then we must say it’s okay to kill human embryos to treat disease. As C. S. Lewis once said, “If man wants to be raw material, raw material he will be.”

[quote=Cupofkindness]Juli:

Thanks to original sin, our bodies are not perfect and since they are not what God designed originally (meaning sinless), we need to intervene to remain healthy. Would your children have dental work if they had a cavity? Or a shot to relieve the pain of the drilling? Would you allow treatment if your child had cancer? Would you have a broken bone set? Give a child with a high fever Tylenol? Put Orajel on the gums of a teething baby? Where do you draw the line? Exactly what level of medical care are you willing to provide for your children?

I have never understood what the anti-immunizations issue is all about. Why do people become militant when the data is undeniable, that is, immunizations prevent life-threatening or crippling illnesses. It is completely regrettable that some children are adversely affected by these vaccines, but it’s a trade-off, just like everything else. In fact, one of the only reasons that these anti-vaccine parents can do this is because the rest of us immunize our children thereby keeping the probability of acquiring the illness low. If everyone refused to vaccinate, we would have a terribly high rate of childhood mortality. These folks, while whining loudly about vaccinations, take for granted that the rest of us get our kids’ immunizations which further protects the health of their own children. It think it’s hypocritical and self-centered. They’ve somehow forgotten just how frightening these diseases really are. It seems to me that good Catholics have far more important social and moral issues at stake then debating the efficacy of routine vaccines in children.

Our Catholic schools are bound by these policies. The school has enough on it’s plate without having to worry about unvaccinated children. It is ridiculous that someone would take formal action against their Catholic elementary school on this issue. For heaven’s sake, if you don’t like it then find a small Christian school that will let you do what you want when it comes to your children’s health. If I were a parent at your Catholic school, I’d be glad to see your family transfer to another school anyway, since your children could spread diseases that might harm others.
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As other people have said, it is not nearly as simple as you have stated. Take the chicken pox vaccine - with the widely accepted figure that only 10% of adverse reactions are reported, you must multiply reactions by 10. More children die from the vaccine than from the disease. The only children who generally are in danger of serious reactions from the chickenpox are those with autoimmune disorders, cancer, etc., and those kids are too ill to receive the vaccine. This is a disease that nearly all of us here have probably had, and uneventfully. We don’t know how long the vax will last, or if we are creating an adult population which is not immune, and which would have more serious reaction to the disease because if their age.

And that’s just one vaccine. There have been links to autism and the MMR vaccine. We all make choices for our children. Of course we have bones set - ther isn’t a danger in that. We are talking about preventive medicine.

How about the HepB vaccine. We give it to infants because the medical community decided it would be too tough to get teens to go to the doctor and get a shot. Do yo want to load you infant’s immune system with chemicals like murcury and formadehyde for that reason? Remember that this is primarily transmitted through sexual contact and to those in the medical field.

Prevnar is also questionable. It’s very new, and in my opinion has not been on the market long enough to give it to my daughter. Other vaccines have been recalled after being on the market for longer. Am I really putting other people’s kids at risk when I choose not to vaccinate with a vaccine that’s only been around a few years? Were these children at such a great risk when these vaccines were not available just a few years ago.

We are still deciding on the vaccine issue in our home, although we have decided to delay their start until 12 months. And she will likely not get the chicken pox vaccine or hepB. I realize that I may have to homeschool if I want to do this, and I am willing to do that for the health of my child. Don’t worry, I won’t let her go near other kids when she gets chicken pox.

Doctors are not god. We have to look at every issue objectively, do research, and pray.

[quote=MooCowSteph]Doctors are not god. We have to look at every issue objectively, do research, and pray.
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Very true! My experience with the HepB vaccine: it became required for school children when my boys were in grade school. I asked my pediatrician why it was required, and he told me that HepB is primarily a sexually transmitted disease (at least in this country), but health authorities hadn’t had much success persuading sexually active adults to get the vaccine, so their solution was to require children to get it! He also told me he personally had never seen a child with HepB.

i think a good argument could be made that the hep B shot goes against our religion because it is for an STD and we should be teaching our kids chastity not vaxing them in case they have sex. i hope of we decline that one next time and still do the others the catholic schools wouldn’t have an issue with that one

[quote=Cupofkindness] And yes, I am judgemental. The OP asked for “thoughts and opinions,” so I’m giving them.
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The OP asked for thoughts and opinions on the Catholic School’s decision to not allow the religious exemption.
No asked anyone else to be judgemental about Immunizations and the parental decisions of it.

I’ll ask again, if they came up with a wonder drug that would cure your child of a disease, but it was made from Aborted Pre-born stemcells, would you rationalize it the same way?

[quote=lifeisbeautiful] I’m curious about this, could you explain further? The Catholic Church does not have a stance against vaccinations, yet if parents feel their well-formed conscience says they should not get they children vaccinated, then that should be considered a religious exemption, even if their religion is not against vaccination?
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The Church teaches that one may abstain from vaccines, the church neither requires nor prohibits the action. Some vaccines may be abstained from purely on ethical grounds-- those made from aborted fetuses and/or other objectionable methods.

Additionally, parents are charged with doing what they believe is best for their children, and many vaccines have not only a morally reprehensible aspect but also medical concerns-- such as the possible link to certain vaccines and the development of autism, etc.

So, a person can have moral objections and medical objections.

The “religious grounds” on which I would object to vaccinating my children is the principle of* the freedom and requirement to follow my well formed conscience*. Those are my grounds: the church asserts that I must form my conscience and follow it.

If I form my conscience and it tells me I must not vaccinate., then, in order to take action dictated by my faith I must be allowed to follow my conscience within what the law allows.

I am not proposing that the “religious grounds” are what the church teaches about vaccinations. It’s what the church teaches about conscience and the role of parents.

[quote=lifeisbeautiful] I see your point of following your well-informed conscience, but wouldn’t using “religious exemption” for any opinion on any matter lead to parents/children being able to disobey any rules done for the general wellfare, if they feel that it would not be in best interest for their child? (and when I a say best interest I don’t mean between something that is bad and good, but maybe good and better). What I mean is, sometimes, to be part of a community we might have to comply with rules that are made for everyones wellfare, even if we feel the rules do not maximize our benefits. Now, I am not talking about vaccinations, since I know some people feel strongly in different directions, but I’m just addressing the concept of “religious exemption” despite the fact that ones religion does not have an opinion.
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The law in this case specifically allows you to choose vaccinating or not based on your beliefs. I am not advocating going outside what the law allows. The Church does have an opinion-- the opinion is that you can choose not to vaccinate.

[quote=lifeisbeautiful] BTW, if one is so convinced that a certain vaccine (or all of them) are so harmful for a fact, could one not find a Dr that would agree, and have him write a note? I think that would make more sense since it is not because Catholicism is against vaccines, it is that the parents feel it is bad for the child’s health, right? Wouldn’t a health/medical exemption make more sense?
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I disagree. The decision not to vaccinate is not so black and white. I believe it is both medical and moral grounds, and rarely something that is arrived at without much research, prayer, and discernment.

I believe most doctors are sheep-- not all but most-- the same doctors that pump birth control pills into 14 year olds for acne are not likely to write a note stating that the MMR is bad for kids. :slight_smile:

[quote=Cupofkindness] Then what of the case where the parent has formed their conscience in such a way that they decide to give their seventh grade daughter contraceptives and have them dispensed at the school? Granted, this is an ill-formed conscience according to the Church’s teaching, but that parent might then believe that it is within their God-given right to do that since they believe that their conscience is well-formed. We must acknowledge that it is within a Catholic school’s power to set it’s own polices about medical care for their students.

The point is that Catholic schools institutions that must function in a society where they must comply with regulations that are not always in their control. Moreover, ask the other parents if they want unvaccinated children at their school. Keep in mind that mother’s are constantly toting their own babies and toddlers that haven’t been fully vaccinated in and out of the school, so it’s not just the students at risk. Nearly all parents want every child in the school to be vaccinated.
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I am not advocating those things which violate either secular or church law. However, the OP clearly states that state law allows it. Therefore, no one is asking for what the law does not allow. And, further, in this case what the state law allows does not contradict what Church law or doctrine allows.

Therefore, the school is prohibiting what neither church nor secular law prohibits and violating the parents’ conscience in the process.

[quote=Cupofkindness] And it is flawed reasoning to suggest that this Catholic school is violating any parent’s right to follow their own conscience and follow it. No one is forcing Juli to vaccinate her children. Any parent in this situation can follow their conscience, but there is a trade-off. Why is this a problem for people? Why do people think that rules should be changed to accept their personal beliefs about things like this? These schools simply can’t. Nor should they. Moreover, it’s not fair to the other families who send their children there believing that everyone is immunized. Juli wants a school that accepts her brand of parenting, though it means breaking the rules.
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I disagree. The school can allow it, they are choosing not to. It is not a matter of “they simply can’t”. The provision exists in state law, and it is not prohibited within church law. The school has chosen not to allow it and I believe it violates the parents rights. That’s my take on it, you are welcome to your own view.

[quote=Cupofkindness] For a moment, replace head lice for vaccines. Would you feel that it’s okay for a hypothetical Juli to send her hypothetical children to school with active lice infestations just because she doesn’t want to treat the condition? Because one of her children might have an allergic reaction to the chemicals that kill the lice? That we should accept these children, lice and all, though they pose a hazard to the rest of the student body? Because I think this is parellel to what Juli wanting her school to do, that is, accept a greater level of risk to the good health of the rest of the students. That is why I believe this issue is centered on pridefulness.
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I disagree with your analogy and your assessment of motivation.

[quote=netmilsmom]The OP asked for thoughts and opinions on the Catholic School’s decision to not allow the religious exemption.
No asked anyone else to be judgemental about Immunizations and the parental decisions of it.

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It is quite unfair to take out of context one line out of cupofkindness’s long and thoughtful posts and then turn it against her. Her posts are very logical and very responsible. Why do all the threads on vaccinations and homeschooling always end up with the zealots fighting off anyone else who believes in vaccinations and public schools (or CCD or Catholic schools)?

Please realize that the only reason those of you who are against immunizing are not putting your kids in great danger of serious disease is because the rest of us ARE immunizing. If 20, 50, or 90% of parents did not immunize, these diseases would be running rampant in our society.

You are putting my young child that is not totally protected yet at risk of contracting these diseases.

I believe it is irresponsible NOT to immunize.

Please, check out the Church’s official teachings on the ethics of immunizations.

[quote=MomToMany]Please realize that the only reason those of you who are against immunizing are not putting your kids in great danger of serious disease is because the rest of us ARE immunizing. If 20, 50, or 90% of parents did not immunize, these diseases would be running rampant in our society.

You are putting my young child that is not totally protected yet at risk of contracting these diseases.

I believe it is irresponsible NOT to immunize.

Please, check out the Church’s official teachings on the ethics of immunizations.
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Hear, hear. Another well-reasoned post. :clapping:

As far as the ORIGINAL question goes, I believe the law is written such that:

  1. You do not legally have to vacinate your children.
  2. Since public schools must accept everyone, they must still accept you if you choose not to be vacinated.
  3. However, PRIVATE schools can do virtually anything they like. If you don’t want to follow their rules, you don’t have to send your kids there. Therefore, the exemption law doesn’t apply.

Not to say that it is right, but it is legal. I went to a private college and had my own “surprises” about what they could and couldn’t require from you.

Of course, these days the courts are making up all kinds of new laws trying to remove choice from everyone. It isn’t enough to have a choice of going somewhere else-we must force our choices to be accepted wherever we want to go. (Thinking of laws forcing businesses and employees to dispense abortifacients.)

I just wondered whyparents who have chosen to vaccinate their children, should be so alarmed by the thought of unvaccinated children coming into contact with theirs- after all-their children, having been vaccinated would surley be immune to any nasties that they might have.?

[quote=apricot yogurt]I just wondered whyparents who have chosen to vaccinate their children, should be so alarmed by the thought of unvaccinated children coming into contact with theirs- after all-their children, having been vaccinated would surley be immune to any nasties that they might have.?
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Because I think that the majority of us would prefer, NOT to have to vaccinate our children, but we are trying to do the responsible thing. If all of us decided not to vaccinate, we sure would start to see an increase in deaths due to common illnesses that could have been prevented by vaccinations. I bet these parents would be standing in LONG lines waiting to get their children vaccinated if there was an outbreak of one of these illnesses and the vaccines were limited. Then I’m sure they would be willing to risk the SMALL percentage of a complication rather than risk the LARGE percentage of a chance the child would get the disease and die. We are fortunate to have been able to eradicate these diseases through these vaccines and we don’t see the effects of what could have happened or what our world would be like if they had not been discovered. God gave us the knowledge, let’s use it. There are risks to everything. Every day of your life is a risk.

[quote=1ke]The Church teaches that one may abstain from vaccines, the church neither requires nor prohibits the action. Some vaccines may be abstained from purely on ethical grounds-- those made from aborted fetuses and/or other objectionable methods.

Additionally, parents are charged with doing what they believe is best for their children, and many vaccines have not only a morally reprehensible aspect but also medical concerns-- such as the possible link to certain vaccines and the development of autism, etc.

So, a person can have moral objections and medical objections.

The “religious grounds” on which I would object to vaccinating my children is the principle of* the freedom and requirement to follow my well formed conscience*. Those are my grounds: the church asserts that I must form my conscience and follow it.

If I form my conscience and it tells me I must not vaccinate., then, in order to take action dictated by my faith I must be allowed to follow my conscience within what the law allows.

I am not proposing that the “religious grounds” are what the church teaches about vaccinations. It’s what the church teaches about conscience and the role of parents.

The law in this case specifically allows you to choose vaccinating or not based on your beliefs. I am not advocating going outside what the law allows. The Church does have an opinion-- the opinion is that you can choose not to vaccinate.

I disagree. The decision not to vaccinate is not so black and white. I believe it is both medical and moral grounds, and rarely something that is arrived at without much research, prayer, and discernment.

I believe most doctors are sheep-- not all but most-- the same doctors that pump birth control pills into 14 year olds for acne are not likely to write a note stating that the MMR is bad for kids. :slight_smile:
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Ok, so the parents should be allowed to be exempt from following the rule with a “religious exemption”, but not because their religion is against it, but because of what their religion teaches on the role of parents and conscience?

BTW, do you or anyone else happen to know where I can read what the Church says on this matter? I am going off of what I have read here, but it would be better to go off of the source itself.

Anyways, so you are saying that the decision to vaccinate has both health and moral grounds, yet I have read here that the Church does not have any moral objections to the vaccines. Since you mentioned that the morality of the vaccines is not the base for moral exemption, then I guess it does not matter whether or not there are moral reasons to not get vaccines. My point was that if indeed there are so many health reasons to not get vaccines, shouldn’t one be able to find a Dr. that will acknowledge this?

[quote=luvmykids]Then I’m sure they would be willing to risk the SMALL percentage of a complication rather than risk the LARGE percentage of a chance the child would get the disease and die.
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The thing is that with some of the vaccines the risk of complications is the same or greater than with the disease, such as with Chicken Pox. And there hasn’t been a new polio case in 25 years.

Some parents have a hard time justifiying getting these vaccines, esp. chix pox, when risks are similar or greater with the vaccine than with the disease. Parents should be able to make that decision, not law makers. So again, it’s not as simple as vax and you’ll be fine, don’t vax and you’ll die.

[quote=MooCowSteph]The thing is that with some of the vaccines the risk of complications is the same or greater than with the disease, such as with Chicken Pox. And there hasn’t been a new polio case in 25 years. .
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Maybe in the US, but that’s because we vaccinate for it. Read this:medaire.com/polio_alert.html
dailyrecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060124/LIFE03/601240338/1074/LIFE

[quote=MooCowSteph]Some parents have a hard time justifiying getting these vaccines, esp. chix pox, when risks are similar or greater with the vaccine than with the disease. Parents should be able to make that decision, not law makers. So again, it’s not as simple as vax and you’ll be fine, don’t vax and you’ll die.
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Lawmakers are trying to protect the entire population.

[quote=MooCowSteph]The thing is that with some of the vaccines the risk of complications is the same or greater than with the disease, such as with Chicken Pox. And there hasn’t been a new polio case in 25 years.
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There were two in my state this year. They were Amish kids whose didn’t vaccinate them.

[quote=spacecadet]i think a good argument could be made that the hep B shot goes against our religion because it is for an STD and we should be teaching our kids chastity not vaxing them in case they have sex. i hope of we decline that one next time and still do the others the catholic schools wouldn’t have an issue with that one
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Think! STDs don’t infect only willing sexual partners who make poor moral choices. I have known several good Catholic girls who have been raped, including one left for dead in a ditch. This is why I want my children protected against HepB and any other chronic infectious diseases they might acquire, even against their will.

And good point about polio. It’s been eradicated thanks to immunizations. And I also agree with the comment that nobody wants to vaccinate their children. We deplore seeing our precious babies poked with needles and injected with germs and other material foreign to their systems. Worse yet, I absolutely hate the drugs they put in newborn babies’ eyes to protect them against syphillis. Ugh! Talk about the innocent paying for the sins of others! I’m not certain this is even done anymore, but I do feel that it’s an injustice. But I digress…

I spoke to our Catholic school nurse today about this matter. She knows I get vaccines like clockwork so she knew I was talking about some other family. The nurse told me that the policy is set by the diocese and isn’t under the jurisdiction of individual schools. And that while public schools must accept the “conscience” objection in the form of notarized documents to that effect, Catholic schools do not.

As one poster said, there would be long, long lines full of unvaccinated kids and their mothers should there be an outbreak of a preventable yet deadly communicable disease that can be warded away with a shot.

The bottom line is this: parents who don’t immunize their children rely on the rest of us to do so. They are depending on everyone else to protect their own children. If everyone did what they are doing polio, the mumps, measles, and rubella would still plague us (And remember just how detrimental rubella is to pregnant women! Babies can be miscarried if the mother has rubella. If you don’t vaccinate your daughters, how can you be sure that they won’t contract rubella during a pregnancy? Well, because the rest of us have been vaccinated, I suppose you don’t have to worry as much…) .

And by the way, where does it say that the risks of the chicken pox vaccine are the same as the risks of the actual disease? Can anyone substantiate that claim? Lastly, vaccinated children in school are protected, yes, but not the little ones that go into the schools with their parents. At my Catholic school, pregnant women, babies, and toddlers are a part of the daily landscape. For those little ones whose vaccination sequence isn’t complete, they are at risk. Moreover, older adults are at risk.

This is why I think its a matter of false pride for these parents; that somehow, because they’ve studied the research or because their consciences are perhaps more devoutly formed on the matter, they feel that they are better parents than those of us willing to trust and comply with our doctors’ recommendations. It is hypocrital, a “holier than thou” approach to parenting to maintain the stance that vaccines are morally wrong for your children when you benefit, indirectly but undeniably, from widespread vaccination throughout the population.

[quote=Veritas41]Very true! My experience with the HepB vaccine: it became required for school children when my boys were in grade school. I asked my pediatrician why it was required, and he told me that HepB is primarily a sexually transmitted disease (at least in this country), but health authorities hadn’t had much success persuading sexually active adults to get the vaccine, so their solution was to require children to get it! He also told me he personally had never seen a child with HepB.
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Of course not, because most young children aren’t sexually active. this is one of those “big picture” examples of how this plays out on the national level, not just for one family. The vaccine is intended to protect people when they are older, not children. This is a good policy. Not only will it contain the spread of disease, but don’t forget that we taxpayers pay for the medical care of the populations at high risk to contract this disease. If people don’t get hepititus, we don’t have to pay for medical care for this condition for the rest of their lives. We can channel public money into other areas, like abstinence programs.

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