A Republican legislator in South Dakota will introduce a bill that would make it simpler for parents to opt their children out of mandatory vaccinations for religious reasons, the Argus Leader reported on Friday.
Although the state already has a religious exemption for mandatory school vaccinations, the opposition must be etched in the religion’s doctrine. Newly elected state Sen. Jeff Monroe of Pierre, S.D. said his bill will ease those requirements and allow any “sincere, verifiable religious belief” to qualify for exemption.
“As the law is right now, the Lutheran denomination does not have as part of its doctrine that it’s opposed to vaccination. Well, of course not. It was established (almost 500) years ago,” Monroe said. “I want the law to function so if someone doesn’t like it, and that’s the reason, they can (opt out).”
South Dakota’s secretary of health, the state medical association and the state association of school nurses have all signaled opposition to Monroe’s proposal.