Anti-vaxxers: religious liberty vs. public health

Massachusetts state Representative Andy Vargas
Massachusetts state Representative Andy Vargas

Re “Lawmaker’s vaccination measure riles some” (Metro, June 11): I was disappointed to read the statement attributed to a spokesman for the Catholic Action League to the effect that parents should be able to withhold vaccines from their school-age children based on nothing more than a claim of religious objection. Religious liberty doesn’t give us the right simply to make up whatever set of personal rules suits our whims. Aside perhaps from Christian Science, I know of no organized religion with any substantial membership that prohibits (or even discourages) participation in medically sound practices, including vaccination. The ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York who are refusing to vaccinate their children are not relying on Jewish doctrine, but rather have fallen prey to the same anti-vax nonsense that appears in other random segments of the US population. I’m sorry that state Representative Andy Vargas and others continue to endure abuse for their courageous stand to make Massachusetts schoolchildren safer by eliminating nonmedical exemptions to the vaccination requirement.

Helen E. Golding