How This NY Mom Made the Case for Her Son’s Religious Vaccine Exemption

By Heather Callaghan

An unidentified, Russian immigrant mother who practices the Russian Orthodox faith, has secured a religious vaccine exemption for her autistic son. New York has a bill on the table to eliminate religious exemption and to root out those who weren’t refusing vaccines on strictly devout, religious grounds. Yet, this woman’s plight goes back before talk of eliminating the exemption – two years to be exact.

From the personal accounts I frequently read, this process appears to be increasing in difficulty. No less so for this pro-choice mother who tenaciously fought for the exemption on the grounds of a sincerely and deeply held religious belief against abortion and, therefore, against the use of vaccines which are manufactured with cloned cell lines from aborted fetuses. The law still barely provides for the exemption, but it must be documented and “heartfelt.”


The woman filed for an MMR exemption for her son during the summer and fall of 2013, but the Department of Education rejected it saying they didn’t believe in her sincerity. They made a strange claim that the Russian Orthodox Church hadn’t been very vocal in a stance against vaccination. She filed an appeal and argued her reasons.

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Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia sided with the parent and granted the student exemption in an Aug. 3 ruling.

“Her opposition to the MMR vaccine stems from sincerely held religious beliefs. …Furthermore, petitioner produced information relative to specific ingredients … which appears to provide the linkage between vaccines and aborted fetal tissue,” Elia said.

That was no small fight and no small feat. The mother had to audition her beliefs and had said that “abortion is clearly considered a mortal sin and is [an] abhorrent act to any Christian.”

She had said:

The vaccine manufacturers’ use of aborted fetal cells in its products and research means that I cannot associate with them or support them financially (by buying their products), for such support would make me complicit to their sin and answerable to God for this violation.

This writer doesn’t believe in exemptions – hear me out – because the right to one’s body and medical choice is always non-negotiable. Regardless of any belief – or none. We will continue to hear stories like the above and salute in triumph but as soon as those last exemptions are legislated out, the door will close on any type of refusal even as hundreds of vaccines begin to surface the market.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz is about to chomp down on that last thread of exemption in New York with his new bill, difficult as the exemption already is to secure. He says parents who choose not to vaccinate are being “stupid” and “selfish.”

Exemptions are loopholes that say you’re going outside the law…for now. They are not rights – loopholes are always meant to be closed. They will always be crimped off at a later time when people have acclimated to the “chisel effect,” which is why it is a big deal when the last threads of your rights are on the chopping block. I don’t believe in trite answers like “just homeschool” or “just move” because 1) that’s only a temporary fix to the national loss of rights and 2) you have a right to seek medical services where you are and a recognized right to attend public school. Real rights are way easier to lose than to get them back – it will take the adamant demands of millions with the tenacity of the mother above.

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook. Recent posts by Heather Callaghan


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6 Comments on "How This NY Mom Made the Case for Her Son’s Religious Vaccine Exemption"

  1. TARDISOFGALLIFREY | September 1, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Reply

    The Nuremberg Code of Ethics and Informed Consent:

    Required is the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity.

    The experiment should aim at positive results for society that cannot be procured in some other way.

    It should be based on previous knowledge (like, an expectation derived from animal experiments) that justifies the experiment.

    The experiment should be set up in a way that avoids unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injuries.

    It should not be conducted when there is any reason to believe that it implies a risk of death or disabling injury.

    The risks of the experiment should be in proportion to (that is, not exceed) the expected humanitarian benefits.

    Preparations and facilities must be provided that adequately protect the subjects against the experiment’s risks.

    The staff who conduct or take part in the experiment must be fully trained and scientifically qualified.

    The human subjects must be free to immediately quit the experiment at any point when they feel physically or mentally unable to go on.

    Likewise, the medical staff must stop the experiment at any point when they observe that continuation would be dangerous.

    • The US govt doesn’t care about the Nuremburg code or most of the other international treaties they signed; just ask the Native Americans who are AGAIN being screwed out of their lands for corporate profits.
      Another mistake the ‘lawmakers” are making is basing their forcing vaccines on an early 1904 law that “forced” a man to be vaccinated during a disease outbreak for the greater good. They conveniently leave out the part that he was allowed to pay a small fine instead if he wished. This is still not right but demonstrates the deception which they are willing to go to.
      Another twist is TV shows saying that the Catholic church [and others] is OK with the aborted fetal cell issue because they are not doing it anymore [untrue new lines in development as we speak].Again the Pope only knows what he is being told about virology. The religious exemption does not rely on any specific religion but a “sincerely held belief” . It has been shot down in five state supreme courts when they tried to force parents to bring a letter from the pastor or declare their religion for judgement. This is invasion of privacy & leaves you open to discrimination.
      Since doctors will be threatened & politicians are deciding criteria for medical exemption; we need to hang on to any way we can to protect our families from this scourge on humanity.
      USA is already 97% vaccinated & most recent outbreaks of measles & pertussis were 90 % vaccinated. but they are rolling out a plethora of new vaccines [for adults too]. Soon you will not be able to get any job without it and homeschooling will be outlawed.

  2. Medical fascism.

  3. “The mother had to audition her beliefs…..”

    This is obscene and reminds me of the Spanish Inquisition.

  4. Yvonne Forsman | September 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Reply

    So on one hand we have stupid politicians who don’t know squat about health (you don’t force vaccine on an autistic child, it will make them even more sick!!!), and on the other hand crazy religious ppl who believe there is such a thing as sin. It’s a miracle humanity has survived this far.

  5. People better get concerned when ‘politicians’ are driving to the hoop to deny religious freedom. What we need are a lot more unemployed politicians. They’re useless.

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