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Conscience-based immunization bill advances - Iowa

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United States
01/27/2017 03:51 PM
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Conscience-based immunization bill advances - Iowa
[link to wcfcourier.com]

DES MOINES – Legislation allowing Iowans to exercise a “personal conviction” exemption from state law requiring their children to be vaccinated before enrolling in licensed day care and public school won preliminary approval Thursday.

A three-member subcommittee approved House File 7 after Republicans argued the immunization mandate violates Iowans religious liberties and personal freedoms.

“It always seems to me that to force somebody to put something in their body just seems against the liberties we have in this country,” Rep. Sandy Salmon, R-Janesville, said. Although she promised to continue reviewing material presented by health care advocates, she said whether to immunize children should be an individual decision.

Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, said immunizations are a public health issue and “by making this exemption we are becoming a danger to others.”

Iowa allows parents to exercise a religious or medical exemption to immunization requirements. HF 7, sponsored by Rep. Ken Rizer, R-Cedar Rapids, would add “personal conviction.” All states allow medical exemptions, 45 allow religious exemptions and 19 allow philosophical exemptions.

The number of religious exemptions in Iowa has risen to 1.3 percent or 6,737 K-12 students, Deborah Thompson of the Iowa Department of Public Health told lawmakers. Currently, Iowa’s immunization rate for MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) is 91.8 percent, 43rd among states.


The risk far outweighs any benefit as the risk will vary from child to child.