FFRF commends Connecticut for removing harmful religious vaccine exemptions

Vaccine

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is cheering the triumph of reason over dogma and science over pseudoscience in Connecticut. Despite zealous opposition from religious anti-vaccination protesters, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has signed a bill into law ending religious exemptions from vaccine requirements for students.

Many states allow parents to claim a religious exemption from regulations that require they vaccinate their children. However, when parents choose not to vaccinate, it not only compromises the health of their own children but also jeopardizes “herd immunity” for those who cannot receive vaccinations for health reasons.

By passing HB 6423, Connecticut will improve the state’s ability to combat infectious diseases. Anti-vaccination religious groups flooded the governor with requests to veto the bill, which he thankfully ignored. There is no religious right to risk the health and lives of others by ignoring common sense health policies.

It is critical to counter the influence of anti-science religious zealots, whose dangerous rhetoric has caused very serious and preventable infectious disease outbreaks in numerous states across the country. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a sudden and massive outbreak of measles in the United States in 2019, surpassing the number of prior cases reported since 1992. The states that have seen the highest incidences of the disease are those with the most expansive exemption laws.

Especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial that we not allow religious beliefs to hinder our ability to control infectious diseases. Church gatherings have been, unsurprisingly, a leading source of Covid-19 outbreaks. Many believers have learned the hard way that faith does not protect from real-world diseases.

Other states should follow Connecticut’s lead and pass similar measures to protect residents from the dangerous repercussions of religious dogma.

Photo via Shutterstock By M-Foto

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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