Large turnout expected for vaccination religious exemption repeal hearing


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNh) — The uptick in the number of religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations has prompted a plan to take the exemption off the books. But opponents are gearing up for a massive turnout for a public hearing on the proposal Wednesday.

The politics of childhood vaccinations is expected to have a major collision at the State Capitol on Wednesday. Some of the organizers were gearing up Tuesday with what they called a “Religious Freedom Conference,” saying the proposal tramples on religious freedom.

“That’s being threatened in a big way, and I think people are pretty upset and passionate about it,” said Rep. Anne Dauphinais (R-Danielson).

Some are coming to Connecticut after helping defeat a similar proposal in New Jersey last month.

“Parents have rights over their children,” said Rev. Gregory Quinlan of the Center for Garden State Families. “God gave parents children, not the government, and it’s extremely important for it to be defeated.”

“We were told that when they passed the abortion law that it was about everybody could do what they want with their body and now they’re telling us we have to get vaccinations,” added Father Jean Violette of the Society of Saint Pius X.

“Everybody in Connecticut watched very closely what happened in New Jersey and everyone in New Jersey and New York and beyond is watching very closely what’s happening in Connecticut,” said Brian Festa of the Connecticut Freedom Alliance.”

But beyond the religious freedom argument, there are those that totally reject vaccination science.

“There are a massive amounts of carcinogens found in these vaccinations,” said Rabbi Henry Morse of Sha’Ar Hashamayam.

But the largest denomination in Connecticut, the Roman Catholic Church, has made their position very clear. In a statement from all of the state’s bishops, they say:

“The Catholic Church encourages the use of vaccines, and our Catholic schools require mandatory vaccinations. There is no religious teaching against the use of these vaccines for Catholics.”

The proposed law would not force anyone to have a vaccination, but it would ban the un-vaccinated from public and private schools starting this fall.

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