The Iowa House has voted to retain the religious exemption parents may claim if they don’t want their children immunized. The Senate earlier voted to force all Iowa children to get vaccinations for dangerous diseases like measles and whooping cough, but House members like Representative Dan Boddicker of Tipton balked at the idea. Boddicker says the country takes the freedom of religion granted in the Bill of Rights very seriously.He says the state doesn’t want to see sheriff’s deputies and county nurses descending on homes to enforce the manditory vaccinations for those who oppose them on religious grounds. Representative Ro Foege, a democrat from Mount Vernon. says just two-tenths of one percent of Iowa children are not immunized because of their parents’ religious objections to vaccine. Representative Gary Blodgett, a retired dentist, was the only House member to speak in favor of forced immunizations for all kids, regardless of a parent’s religious objections. He says there have been epidemics of preventable diseases as a result of childrend not being immunized due to religious beliefs.Senator John Redwine, a doctor from Sioux City, first proposed doing away with the religious exemption from vaccinations, saying un-immunized children pose a health threat to others. The House, by a voice vote, adopted an amendment to a Senate-passed bill. That House amendment took out the section which would have done away with the religious exemption. The bill now goes back to the Senate, where it can decide whether to back down or hold its ground on the issue.
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