Woman describes her faith as Bapticostal: a blend of Baptist and Pentecostal doctrine
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia mother says it would be sacrilege and a health risk to immunize her daughter against childhood diseases, and she wants a federal judge to order public school officials to admit her without the required shots.
Jennifer Workman said vaccinating her 6-year-old daughter Madison goes against her religious beliefs.
“I sincerely believe that (it) is wrong to immunize and that it is a sacrilege,” Workman said in her lawsuit filed April 1 in the Southern District of U.S. District Court. She describes her faith as Bapticostal: a blend of Baptist and Pentecostal doctrine.
Workman also said she’s concerned that Madison could develop autism because Madison’s 13-year-old sister Susanna was diagnosed with atypical autism and other health issues soon after she was immunized.
Until a ruling is issued, Workman is home-schooling her daughters.
West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources says the Mingo County mother’s lawsuit is asking the court to order it to break the law.
The state law requiring all school children to be immunized against diphtheria, polio, measles, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough does not allow a religious exemption, the department’s attorney, Charlene A. Vaughan argues. West Virginia is one of only two states that do not allow religious or philosophical exemptions. The other is Mississippi.
West Virginia allows parents to seek medical exemptions to vaccines when a doctor verifies that a specific medical condition makes it unwise to receive inoculations.
Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin set the case for trial on July 6.