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2/24/2004 8:37:22 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
West Virginia--Urgent-Calls needed to Stop Immunization Bill after Sham Amendment

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 24, 2004


West Virginia--Urgent-Calls needed to Stop Immunization Bill after
Sham Amendment


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

In response to your phone calls and widespread opposition to SB 439,
which strips parents of their right to refuse immunization of their
children for a "sufficient reason," the West Virginia Senate today
adopted a bizarre, unconstitutional amendment that would be quickly
struck down. Your calls are urgently needed to kill this harmful,
unconstitutional bill.


Action Requested:

Please call your senator immediately. We expect a final vote in the
senate as early as tomorrow. Your message may be as simple as,
"Please oppose SB 439. It strips parents of the right to refuse
immunization when there is a good reason. It creates a bizarre, sham
religious exemption that the courts will strike down as
unconstitutional."


Contact information:

Call (304) 357 7800 or (877) 565 3447 to leave a message for your
senator. Go to http://www.hslda.org/toolbox to find the name of your
senator.


Background:

The religious exemption created by the Prezioso/Minard amendment is
blatantly unconstitutional. Only persons belonging to a religion
that has "clergy" or "religious representatives" would be entitled to
the exemption. Persons whose religion does not provide "clergy" or
"religious representatives" would be blocked from the exemption.

This sort of favoritism "establishes" one form of religion over
another by giving it a special benefit. Our constitution does not
permit this. The exemption will be struck down at the first
opportunity, just as a similarly unconstitutional religious exemption
law was struck down in Arkansas recently.

Although a court would certainly strike down the religious exemption,
it is unlikely that the court would restore the "sufficient cause"
opt-out provision the bill abolishes. Citizens would be left with
neither a religious exemption nor a "sufficient cause" opt out.

The Perzioso/Minard religious exemption is also the most bizarre and
complicated of any in the nation. No other state requires a
religious official to vouch for a family before they are allowed an
exemption. No other state requires parents to receive state-approved
information before the exemption is allowed.

No other state muddles the issues so badly as to insist that parents
understand the risks and benefits of immunization before an exemption
is allowed. A religious exemption must be based on faith, not on
one's opinion of the risks and benefits of immunization.
Understanding the risks and benefits would make sense only if an
exemption were being allowed based on one's opinion of the risks and
benefits, which the bill currently does not allow. Many other states
do, however, allow an exemption in this situation.

For the full text of the Perzioso/Minard amendment, go to
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1355

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!


Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff, esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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