Friday, October 16, 2009

A Question of Protection:

Posted Thursday, October 15, 2009 ; 06:00 AM |
Updated Thursday, October 15, 2009 ; 08:38 PM

A mother's legal battle challenges whether state can force immunizations.
Story by Michael Hupp

Americans enjoy many personal freedoms, but one Mingo County mother is asking why West Virginia residents do not share the same rights as those from other states.
A case filed earlier this year in the West Virginia Southern District of U.S. District Court is testing this question.

Jennifer Workman of Williamson says vaccinating her 6-year-old daughter, Madison, goes against her religious beliefs, and she wants a federal judge to admit her child into the Mingo County public school system without the required shots.

According to the lawsuit, Workman also said she's concerned that Madison could develop autism because Madison's 13-year-old sister, Susanna, was diagnosed with atypical autism and other health problems soon after she was immunized.

Workman also is claiming immunization conflicts with her faith, which she describes as Bapticostal, a blend of Baptist and Pentecostal. She originally attempted to get a medical exemption from her family physician, the only exemption allowed by state law. But that exemption later was overturned by the state health officer. West Virginia and Mississippi are the only states in the country that do not legally recognize philosophical or religious exemptions to immunization.

So does the government have the right to force parents to vaccinate their children against diseases such as chickenpox, diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough before they can be admitted to public schools?

"I did not feel like I was living in the same country."

-- Jill Johnson

Workman isn't the only mother questioning West Virginia's policy.

Jill Johnson of Clarksburg moved to West Virginia from southern Pennsylvania several years ago. In Pennsylvania, Johnson enrolled her son into day care and claimed religious grounds as a reason not to vaccinate the child.


No comments:

Post a Comment