Lawsuit Challenges Michigan’s Vaccine Counseling Requirement

A legal challenge has been filed against a state rule that requires counseling for parents who have a religious objection to vaccinating their children.

For two years, Michigan has required parents who have a religious objection to vaccinating their school-aged children to show up at their local health department for a counseling session on the benefits of immunizations. 

Kate Oliveri is an attorney with Thomas More Law Center, which filed the legal challenge. She says the rule crosses a line.        

Parents are now required to take time off of work and drive to their local health department where local health department employees berate and harass them about their religious beliefs,” she says.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services won’t comment specifically on the lawsuit. But spokesperson Jennifer Eisner says the policy has resulted in fewer families opting out of vaccinating their children against measles and other infectious diseases.

The most recent numbers indicate that waiver rates are down 30 percent, and that’s really good. We know how important immunizations are, so we would expect and hope to see those numbers continue to improve,” says Eisner.

The plaintiff is a Catholic women who doesn’t believe in invasive medical treatments.    

Image credit: tschoppi/Flickr

About the Author

Rick Pluta

REPORTER / PRODUCER - MICHIGAN PUBLIC RADIO NETWORK

Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

Follow @rickpluta

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