29 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 109 (1997-1998)
Religious Exemption to Childhood Immunization Statutes: Reaching for a More Optimal Balance between Religious Freedom and Public Health

handle is hein.journals/luclj29 and id is 119 raw text is: Religious Exemptions to Childhood Immunization
Statutes: Reaching for a More Optimal Balance
Between Religious Freedom and Public Health
Timothy J. Aspinwall*
I. INTRODUcriON
State immunization laws expose a tension between society's
commitment to both religious freedom and public health. While each
of the fifty states requires children to undergo a standard set of
immunizations prior to entering school, forty-eight states grant
religious exemptions to this requirement.' Though exemptions are not
* B.A. 1983, University of Utah; J.D. 1986, Vanderbilt University; M.A. Religious
Studies 1995, University of Chicago; Academic Fellow, 1996, MacLean Center for
Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago.
I would like to thank the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics for the time and
resources necessary to complete this article. I would also like to thank Lainie Friedman
Ross, Ann Dudley Goldblatt, and Roland Hsu for their many helpful suggestions.
A separate and different article on the same topic, directed to the bioethics community,
authored by Lainie Friedman Ross and Timothy J. Aspinwall, appears in the Journal of
Law, Medicine and Ethics, Summer 1997, Vol. 25 No. 2.
1. See ALA. CODE  16-30-1, 16-30-3 (1995); ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN.  15-
872(A)(1), 15-873(A)(1) (West 1996); Act effective Mar. 27, 1997, sec. 1,  6-18-
702(a), 1997 Ark. Acts 871; CAL. EDUC. CODE  8263(d) (Deering Supp. 1995); COLO.
REV. STAT.  25-4-1704(2),  25-4-1704(4)(b) (Supp. 1995); CONN. GEN. STAT.  10-
204a(a) (1995); Del. Dep't of Educ. Act of 1997, sec. 14, tit. 14  131(a)(2)(a)-(c),
131(a)(6) (1997); Act effective May 30, 1997, ch. 237, sec. 14,  232.032(1),
232.032(4)(a), 1997 Fla. Laws ch. 237; GA. CODE ANN.  20-2-771(b), 20-2-771(e)
(1996); IDAHO CODE  39-4801, 39-4802(2) (1993); 105 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/27-8.1(1),
5/27-8.1(8) (West 1997); IND. CODE ANN.  20-8.1-7-2(a), 20-8.1-7-9.5 (Michie
1995); IOWA CODE  139.9(2), 139.9(4)(b) (Supp. 1997); KAN. STAT. ANN.  72-
5209(a), 72-5209(b)(2) (Supp. 1996); KY. REV. STAT. ANN.  214.034(1), 214.036
(Michie 1995 & Supp. 1996); LA. REV. STAT. ANN.  170(A)(1), 170(E) (West Supp.
1997); ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 20-A,  6355(3) (West 1993); MD. CODE ANN., EDUC. 
7-402(a)-(b), 7-402(d) (1997); MASS. ANN. LAws ch. 76,  15 (Law. Co-op. 1991);
MICH. COMP. LAWS ANN.  333.9215(2), 380.1177(l)(b) (West 1992 & Supp. 1997);
MINN. STAT.  123.70(1), 123.70(3)(d) (1993); Mo. REV. STAT.  167.181(1)-(3) (Supp.
1997); MONT. CODE ANN.  20-5-403(l)-(3), 20-5-405(1)-(2) (1995); NEB. REV. STAT.
ANN.  79-219 to 79-221 (Michie 1996); Education-Charter Schools Act, ch. 480, sec.
220, 1997 Nev. Stat. 392.437, NEV. REV. STAT. ANN.  392.435(1)(a)-(g), 392.437
(Michie 1996); N.H. REV. STAT. ANN.  141-C:20-a(I)-(II), 141-C:20-c(II) (1996); N.J.
STAT. ANN.  26:1A-9, 26:1A-9.1 (West 1996); N.M. STAT. ANN.  24-5-2, 24-5-
3(A)(2) (Michie 1994); N.Y. PUB. HEALTH LAW  2164(7), 2164(9) (McKinney 1993 &
Supp. 1997); N.C. GEN. STAT.  130A-155(a), 130A-155-157 (1995); N.D. CENT. CODE

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