The bill recently introduced in the Massachusetts Legislature...

Bisbee (Ariz.) Review

The bill recently introduced in the Massachusetts Legislature to modify the strict terms of the present compulsory vaccination law, is commendable for several reasons. The measure provides that children whose parents declare they are opposed to vaccination, shall not be required to submit to inoculation as a precedent to admission to the public schools, says The Christian Science Monitor. Objections to the bill on the ground that it might open the way for the spread of disease, are disposed of by the proviso that in times of threatened epidemic, children exempted from vaccination under this bill would be debarred from school. The proposed change in the Massachusetts law is not unlike the so-called "conscience clause" of the California statute, which has worked satisfactorily for several years. Similar exemptions have been adopted by local school boards in various parts of the United States, with satisfactory results, so far as can be learned.

In commenting on the bill, we do not wish to be construed as taking any part in the long and too often heated discussion as to the merits of vaccine virus as a preventive of disease. Mrs. Eddy advised her followers to submit to the law whenever the law compels vaccination. Christian Scientists are law-abiding, but they need not be debarred from rejoicing when hopeful signs appear, indicating a more liberal and a more enlightened sense of the functions and powers of government.

One of the best reasons why the proposed change in the vaccination law is commendable, is found in the fact that it may rightly be considered a symptom of the upward tendency of human thought to a more individual sense of self-government. Until the golden rule is universally established, the majority will no doubt continue to rule; but the majority are beginning to recognize that the opinions of two men are as sacred for them as the opinions of three men are for them. The time has gone by when the physically strong man ruled simply because he was strong. The growing understanding of the brotherhood of man is already diminishing political, medical, and theological despotism. One need not be an antivaccinationist in order to find satisfaction in the proposed modification of the statute, by which the rights of the individual are acknowledged without in the least imperiling the general public health. It is to be hoped that Massachusetts will have developed a true progressivism, which will make possible the enacting into law of H. 1018.

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