It turns out that Alabama does not have a measles case yet, as was suspected last week.
There are still about 82 open cases and there have been over 250 investigations into possible measles cases, but so far, Alabama is still sitting at zero measles cases.
Because there is no measles case in the state yet, there will be no sense of urgency in the Alabama legislature to change Alabama’s vaccination laws. Currently, Alabama is one of the states that allow religious exemptions with no questions asked.
Obviously, this is being abused by parents who don’t want their children vaccinated. There are currently 3,587 people in the state using those exemptions — the most being 420 in Madison County.
State Representative Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) proposed a bill to eliminate all exemptions except the medically necessary ones. Nationally, this move has widespread support with 72 percent of Americans supporting mandatory vaccines.
An attempt to change that exemption has run into a brick wall in the Alabama legislature.
One of the co-sponsors of Stadthagen’s bill has pulled her support and e-mailed a constituent to tell them that the bill was not well researched and thought out. Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) also said that the bill she once co-sponsored infringed on “religious and family rights.”
Copy of that e-mail below:
The kicker here is that are really only two religious sects who are plausibly against vaccinations in the United States, Church of Christ, Scientist and the Dutch Reformed Church.
The larger of these two, Church of Christ, Scientist, makes up only three percent of the faithful in the state of Alabama, as of 2016.
This exemption is unnecessary, it is being abused.
Reached for comment, Stadthagen said that his bill is dead for this legislative session, but it will be back.
He told Yellowhammer News, “It will come out strong next year.”
It seems unlikely that this bill will get any sort of actual consideration given the framing Collins is bringing to this conversation. She has clearly been contacted by many using the religious freedom argument when in reality this entire conversation is an anti-vaxxer movement. The religious nature of the argument will doom the debate because lawmakers don’t want to be seen as anti-religion.