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Lawsuit Filed Against MDHHS, Challenging Vaccine Waiver and Exclusion Rules

October 6, 2016

Healthy children victim to discriminatory practices losing their constitutional right to an education.

 

Troy, MI — A lawsuit was filed today against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Nick Lyon as its Director seeking declaratory relief from the courts for a series of administrative rules promulgated related to vaccine exemptions and discriminatory school exclusions. The complaint charges that the administrative rules are unconstitutional, arbitrary and capricious and conflict with current state law thus grossly exceeding the MDHHS’ rule-making authority. This follows a federal lawsuit filed against MDHHS, this past summer, by nurse Tara Nicolau, RN and the Thomas More Law Center addressing religious rights violations by the agency.

 

View the complaint and jury command.

 

MDHHS rule [325.175(4)], which conflicts with existing state laws, provides for the unrestricted authority of the local health officer to exclude healthy students from school, for weeks, months or even indefinitely, when a classmate(s) contracts a communicable disease, of any kind, even for as few as one case. No massive outbreak or public health emergency is needed, as required by state law. This discriminatory measure has been enforced across the state, in regard to chickenpox, despite the fact that up to 81% of chickenpox infections in Michigan are in fully vaccinated children and the vaccine itself can cause chickenpox.


Mike Ross, lead counsel on the case, states “This rule is punitive; healthy children are denied education, no home-bound services are provided, and parents must arrange childcare or miss work for 3 weeks or longer. The Lake Orion School Board estimated it cost the district $11,000 to comply with an exclusion required by the local health department for only one case of chickenpox in the high school. This is clearly an unfunded mandate for schools. Also, there are also no due process rights for the affected child.”

 

Additionally, the state exemption law, which has been in effect for decades, allows a parent to opt their child out of one or more mandated vaccines for medical, philosophical or religious reasons by writing a statement to their school official. This is a statutory process that has nothing to do with the health department. However, the new MDHHS ‘waiver education’ rule [325.176(12)] has effectively replaced that statutory procedure. The new MDHHS ‘waiver education’ rule [325.176(12)] now requires a parent speak with a health department worker and undergo a line of questioning about their religious beliefs and medical choices for their children in order to obtain a waiver for delaying a vaccine, choosing to vaccinate only for certain targeted illnesses, or not vaccinating at all in order for their child to be permitted to attend public or private school.

 

Joel Dorfman, a Plaintiff, states “This case is not about the merits of vaccination, it’s about a state agency exceeding their authority and changing state law which substantially interferes with a parent’s right to make medical choices for their children. This rule invalidates the current statutory procedure for claiming a vaccine exemption. The current state law is very clear and unambiguous; this rule materially changes that law. (MCLA 333.9215).

 

The lawsuit also alleges that MDHHS was not transparent in its Regulatory Impact Statement in disclosing the conflict with existing statutes and the unfunded mandate for local health departments, schools and parents across the state, in violation of existing state law. Empirical data and experience in implementing these regulations shows that the fiscal impacts have been substantial, and that MDHHS was fully aware of these costs and impacts when promulgating the new rules.

 

This rule is an assault on the rights of parents and their children, across the state, by local and State agencies. Citizens should be wary of these new regulations and protect the right of all children to flourish in an educational setting without regard to their private medical (vaccination) status. Michigan for Vaccine Choice believes it is the natural, fundamental right of parents to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children and these beliefs are supported in law by the State of Michigan.

Contact: Connie Johnson
Phone: 248.766.1282
Email: communications@michiganvaccinechoice.org


Michigan for Vaccine Choice is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization dedicated to providing educational information on the subject of vaccinations and to protecting and supporting individual/parental rights to make vaccine decisions in Michigan.

 

If you would like to donate to our legal fund, please visit the mvclegalfund.org

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