Diocese allows school religious vaccine exemption for only non-Catholic families
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, May 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City has barred Catholic parents from exempting their schoolchildren from vaccines for “religious” reasons while making religious exemptions “still allowable for other Christian and religious groups.”
Citing the mandatory state policy for all schools in Missouri, which requires immunizations for all public and parochial school students, the Catholic School Office of the Jefferson City diocese released a statement to parents informing them of its new policy. Stating that it will be effective as of July 1, the statement asserted that the “Catholic Church supports immunization for the health of children and the common good of public health.” The new policy requires that all students must be immunized or in the process of being immunized in accordance with Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services regulations.
The statement affirmed that students are barred from the Catholic schools unless they are immunized or can provide a valid exemption from the rule. A medical exemption from the rule must be confirmed by a physician, while a religious exemption must be “confirmed by a statement from the family’s faith leader,” it read. It noted, however, in a move that some critics see as an undermining of parental rights, that “religious exemptions for Catholic families will not be accepted.”
Originally, all religious exemptions to the immunization were barred, according to an earlier statement from the Catholic School Office. In a subsequent letter to parents, the office wrote: “After sharing this policy, it became apparent that the policy could be perceived as infringing upon the religious beliefs of non-Catholic families. Certainly, this was not our intention.”
The policy is being criticized for discriminating against Catholics by not allowing them an exemption for religious reasons.
“They have decided that Catholics are the only people on planet Earth who may not receive a religious exemption to attend the Catholic schools in the Jefferson City Diocese. Why? Well, because.... they are Catholic,” commented one blogger.
There are many parents who refuse vaccines on religious grounds because of the vaccines’ connection to the abortion industry. Some vaccines are derived from cell lines obtained from aborted babies. The Catholic Faith opposes abortion.
A 2005 letter from the Pontifical Academy for Life stated that using morally tainted vaccines, such as those derived from cell lines of aborted babies, may be morally licit. However, once a person learns that a vaccine may be morally tainted, the letter stated that health care providers and vaccine-manufacturers should be advised of any objections to the use of the vaccine. Accordingly, parents may be justified in citing their objection to morally tainted vaccines being used to immunize their children, particularly when the vaccine is for an illness that is not substantially threatening, such as chickenpox.
Two particular fetal cell lines have been used extensively in vaccine development. One is known as WI-38, which was developed at the Wistar Institute in Pennsylvania, while the other is MRC-5, developed for the Medical Research Council in England. WI-38 was developed by using lung cells taken from a baby girl aborted at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy by a mother who felt she already had “too many children,” according to Dr. Stanley Plotkin, who developed a Rubella vaccine using WI-38. The MRC-5 cell line was developed from the lung tissue of a boy baby who was aborted at 14 weeks of gestation.
There exist a number of alternative vaccines approved by the federal government that are not derived from fetal cell lines. However, there are currently no FDA-approved alternatives for Adenovirus, Chickenpox, Hepatitis A, Measles, Mumps, or Rubella (German measles). A new version of the Adenovirus vaccine is currently approved for use only in military personnel. New vaccines are being developed for other diseases (e.g., Ebola) on the basis of aborted fetus cell lines.
In April, a judge in Kentucky denied a Catholic high school student’s request for a preliminary injunction to allow him to return to school despite being unvaccinated for chickenpox. The judge sided with the Northern Kentucky Health Department, which, in the midst of an outbreak of the disease, had required all students to be inoculated. The student in question was enrolled at Our Lady of Assumption Academy in Walton, Kentucky.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 75 new cases of measles were recorded in the U.S. in the last week. The total of 839 cases, according to the CDC, makes it the worst outbreak of the virus since 1994. Since May 10, there has been a 9.8% increase in measles cases across 23 states, which, according to health officials, is due to misinformation about the measles vaccine.