Originally Sent: 2/27/2015

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Bill Proposed to Eliminate Most Vaccine Exemptions—Parental Rights Threatened

Homeschooling in Oregon.

Thanks for supporting homeschool freedom.

TJ Schmidt
Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschool their children.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

An amendment to Senate Bill 442 has been proposed that will eliminate both the religious and the philosophical exemption for immunization. The proposed amendment will only allow an exemption for immunization because of a medical condition. Often a medical exemption is extremely difficult to obtain and can only be applied to a specific immunization.

In Oregon every child through grade twelve is required to be immunized if they attend a school or children’s facility in the state. A certified child care facility or a program providing child care or educational services to children up to kindergarten entry are defined as a children’s facility. Children being taught at home by their parent or legal guardian are not operating a school or a children’s facility. Thus, homeschool students are currently exempt from Oregon’s immunization requirements.

If the proposed amendment to Senate Bill 442 is adopted, parents across the state will no longer be able to claim a religious exemption to any immunization they find objectionable. No parents will be able to claim a personal objection to an immunization that they had researched and decided that they had strong objections to forcing upon their child.

In Oregon children 18 months or older are required to have at least 17 shots including several doses of DTaP, polio, MMR, Hepatitis A and B, and Hib. They must also be given the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. Once a child enters Kindergarten a parent must show proof that he has received at least 19 shots. By the time a student reaches the 7th grade he will have been required to show proof of receiving a total of 23 shots. The Oregon Health Authority currently recommends 9 other shots including three doses of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). These recommended shots do not even include the flu vaccine.

We strongly believe that all parents should carefully research the immunization of their children regardless of whether they are legally required to immunize their children. Immunizations have a specific benefit and purpose. They also have a certain degree of side effects or risk. No one can better decide what a child needs than his parent. It is highly recommended that you discuss any concerns that you may have about immunizations with your family doctor.

Unfortunately, the proposed amendment to Senate Bill 442 is going to remove the right, and the duty, of parents to determine what is best for their child when it comes to immunization. While this bill does not currently impact homeschool families, we believe that this bill will have a very negative impact on parental rights and family wellbeing in general. We urge you to contact the Senate Committee on Health Care members listed below and voice your objection to the proposed amendments to Senate Bill 442. A work session on Senate Bill 442 is currently scheduled for March 9 and we expect the Committee to vote on the bill.

Requested Action

Please contact the Committee members listed below and give them this message in your own words:

“Please oppose Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 442. As a parent I believe it is vital to the health and safety of my children that we continue to have the opportunity to object to immunizations that we are opposed to due to our religious or personal beliefs. As my child’s parent I have the right to carefully research and discuss the immunization of my child with my family doctor without being forced to have my child immunized against my will. Please ensure that Amendment 3 is defeated.”

Remember to be courteous when communicating with the Committee members listed below. You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler and can instead identify yourself as a concerned parent and a voter.

Senate Committee on Health Care:

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, Chair (D-25)
Phone: 503-986-1725
Email: Sen.LaurieMonnesAnderson@state.or.us

Senator Jeff Kruse, Vice-Chair (R-1)
Phone: 503-986-1701
Email: Sen.JeffKruse@state.or.us

Senator Tim Knopp (R-27)
Phone: 503-986-1727
Email: Sen.TimKnopp@state.or.us

Senator Chip Shields (D-22)
Phone: 503-986-1722
Email: Sen.ChipShields@state.or.us

Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-17)
Phone: 503-986-1717
Email: Sen.ElizabethSteinerHayward@state.or.us

We support OCEANetwork’s neutral position as Senate Bill 442 does not directly affect homeschoolers at this point. We will continue to work together to monitor all legislation and keep you updated on any changes to this bill or others that will impact homeschool freedom.

Thank you for your prompt action on behalf of parental rights in Oregon!


Tj Schmidt

Thomas Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

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