About Us 

Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education
    PROVE Home    |     Donations     |     Subscribe     |     Other Resources

Your Rights and the Law
Vaccines: A Closer Look
Other Resources

Texas Passes Conscientious Exemption: In effect on 9/1/03

(Link to get instructions to obtain exemption form.)

"This vaccine exemption policy change in favor of parental rights is the result of many years of hard work by parents with the Texas Legislature. It finally puts Texas in line with the exemptions offered in all of our neighboring and other border states.

At a time when physicians and vaccine manufacturers have lobbied for further release of liability from the harm they do, parents in Texas are grateful to have gained control over which vaccine risks their children will take."  - Dawn Richardson, PROVE

Letter from House Speaker Tom Craddick on Immunization Law Changes

Here is the newsletter we sent out about the new laws passed.

Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 9:48 AM

Subject: [PROVE] Texas got Conscientious Exemption and Prohibition of Punitive Action for not Immunizing

Dear PROVE Texas Members,

After 7 years of working to get a conscientious/philosophical exemption in Texas, I would like to let you know that one was finally passed last night. Unless the Governor vetoes the bill which contains it (it is highly unlikely because the bill restructures Health and Human Services Agencies saving the Texas Taxpayers over one billion dollars), Texas can now be added to the states that have a conscientious exemption.

If accepted by the governor, the law would go into effect for September 1, 2003. The details of how this will work with the upcoming school year and overlapping statutes with the beginning of school will have to be worked out since most schools in Texas start before September 1.

While the language is not what we had worked on and is far from ideal by our standards because it actually makes it more difficult to use the exemption than the current law (you will now have to really plan ahead and use a state created form that can only be obtained from the health department and then have it notarized before submitting the letter to the school), the exemption is far more encompassing than current law as it would include anybody who wanted to use it "for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief." We believe this may help parents who are subjected to the current religious inquisitions and harassment at schools and day care facilities since a signed notarized standardized state exemption form is not subject to debate over validity by school or day care admission like our letters are now. It is unfortunate though that parents will have to go through the hurdle of having to make a written request to the Health Department to obtain the form and then!
have it notarized instead of a personally drafted letter as we have now, but it will be the law so we will all have to help spread the word before the upcoming school year so parents can have time to plan ahead and get this done. Fortunately though, the language does have a provision that prohibits the Department from keeping the names of the people who request the form, although I know many of us through our direct experiences with the Department have little faith in them following the law. We will rely on you to report to us any violations of this so we can bring them out in the public.

We are very excited about another provision in this same bill that prohibits a health and human services agency (including the Health Department and Child Protective Services) from taking punitive action against a parent for not immunizing their child. Here the definition of punitive action includes "the initiation of an investigation of a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare for alleged or suspected abuse, or neglect of a child." In other words, we finally have it in law that for those of us choosing to refuse or delay a vaccine, Child Protective Services cannot be used as a club to coerce or scare parents. A parent's decision will have to be respected and protected. This is an incredible acknowledgement by the state in favor of parental rights. Educating parents about this provision in law will give them the strength to stand up to the coercive doctors who threaten CPS if the child is not given every shot under the sun. We believe the Harassment, Discrimination, and Coercion report to which many of you contributed your accounts was instrumental in getting this provision in law. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this report. (it is posted on our web site at

I know this is just a quick summary, but we wanted to get basic information to you about these significant changes to Texas Law. PLEASE DON'T write back asking questions now, we are taking a break (today is the last day of what was a very long and frustrating legislative session - more on this later!). We will keep you updated with information as we get it. Thank you for all your calls, letters, and support throughout all of this.

In the meantime, there are some Representatives, Senators, and staff members that really deserve our thanks. Please take the time to send mailed thank you cards to the following (include something personal why this will help your family):

Representative Carl Isett and staff Robin Blanchard (extensive work on exemption and support for prohibition on punitive action)

Representative Frank Corte and staff Kathi Seay (work on exemption and author of amendment on prohibition on punitive action)

Representative Suzanna Hupp and staff Katherine Yoder (supportive work on exemption and prohibition on punitive action)

Representative Arlene Wohlgemuth (author of HB 2292, bill amended with language on expansion of exemption and prohibition on punitive action - Representative Wolgemuth accepted these amendments as additions onto her bill)

Senator Craig Estes and staff Trey Blocker (author of amendment adding conscientious exemption)

Senator Jane Nelson (sponsor of HB 2292, bill amended with language on expansion of exemption and prohibition on punitive action - Senator Nelson accepted these amendments as additions onto her bill)

House of Representatives mail can be sent to:

Name of Representative
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Senate mail can be sent to:

Name of Senator
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711-2068.

Thank you!


Dawn Richardson
PROVE(Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education)
PROVE provides information on vaccines, and immunization policies and practices that affect the children and adults of Texas. Our mission is to prevent vaccine injury and death and to promote and protect the right of every person to make informed independent vaccination decisions for themselves and their family.
This information is not to be construed as medical OR legal advice.
Subscribe to PROVE Email Updates:
Tell a Friend about PROVE:

  Contact Us  |  Membership  |  Related Sites

August 22, 2008

 ©2011 Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education. All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Statement