Bioethics, cancer, infectious disease, informed consent, legislation, medical ethics, medicine, politics, public policy, religion, vaccination

Texas Governor pulls a fast one (HPV shot)

In all the excitement about Texas becoming the first State to mandate the vaccination against a Sexually Transmitted Disesase, no one seems to have noticed that Governor Rick Perry ordered the Health Department to make it easier on parents who wish to opt out on vaccinations for their children.

Parents’ Rights. The Department of State Health Services will, in order to protect the right of parents to be the final authority on their children’s health care, modify the current process in order to allow parents to submit a request for a conscientious objection affidavit form via the Internet while maintaining privacy safeguards under current law.

The current relevant law is all over the website containing Texas Statutes. I’m not at all sure that I tracked it all down, but most of it is in The Education Code, especially Chapter 38 and some is in the Health and Safety Code. The “opt out” provision is in 38.001, which was passed in 2003. I believe that this law was the first time in Texas that there was a formal way for parents to object for philosophical reasons, without having to claim health risks.

However, the law concerning the paperwork is in 161.0041 of the Health and Safety Code, and has higher requirements than the parental consent for abortion rulings!

a) A person claiming an exemption from a required immunization based on reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, under Section 161.004 of this code, Section 38.001 or 51.933, Education Code, or Section 42.043, Human Resources Code, must complete an affidavit on a form provided by the department stating the reason for the exemption.
(b)The affidavit must be signed by the person claiming the exemption or, if the person is a minor, the person ’s parent, managing conservator, or guardian, and the affidavit must be notarized.
(c)A person claiming an exemption from a required immunization under this section may only obtain the affidavit form by submitting a written request for the affidavit form to the department.
(d)The department shall develop a blank affidavit form that contains a seal or other security device to prevent reproduction of
the form. The affidavit form shall contain a statement indicating that the person or, if a minor, the person ’s parent, managing conservator, or guardian understands the benefits and risks of immunizations and the benefits and risks of not being immunized.
(e)The department shall maintain a record of the total number of affidavit forms sent out each year and shall report that information to the legislature each year. The department may not maintain a record of the names of individuals who request an affidavit under this section.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, Sec. 2.163, eff. Sept. 1,

In order to opt-out, the parent has to send a “written request” for the paperwork to the Department. The law actually states that the legal affadavit has to have “a seal or other security device” to prevent copying. Can this be done online?

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


One thought on “Texas Governor pulls a fast one (HPV shot)

  1. >"The law actually states that the legal affadavit has to have "a seal or other security device" to prevent copying. Can this be done online?"It can, with a bit of public-key crypto. Its easy to use that to send a message which can be read by only the intended recipient, and which can be proven to have origionated from a specific individual (Or someone who stole their key, but thats no worse a problem than someone stealing a seal).But I think the internet isn't used for the document itsself – only to request a copy of the relivent form, which is then delivered by post, with its seal.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | February 5, 2007, 10:23 am

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