A group focused on taking religion out of government is targeting Oregon’s high rate of vaccine exemptions.

A group focused on taking religion out of government is targeting Oregon’s high rate of vaccine exemptions.

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A group focused on taking religion out of government is targeting Oregon’s high rate of vaccine exemptions.

The Secular Coalition for America wants to repeal Oregon’s non-medical vaccine exemption. Spokeswoman Sarah Levin said religious and philosophical exemptions endanger people with frail immune systems.

“When it comes to public health our policies must be based on science, and evidence and research alone, not religious or personal beliefs,” said Levin.

Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center said religious exemptions are a constitutional issue.

“If we do not have non-medical exemptions that allow us to exercise our freedom to have religious beliefs, have conscientious beliefs with regard to using a pharmaceutical product like a vaccine … then we are not really free,” she said.

Oregon’s vaccine exemption rate dropped this year, possibly because of a new law making them more difficult to get.

A bill to completely repeal them failed in Salem this session.