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Your Rights and the Law
Vaccines: A Closer Look
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If you are being harassed because of your decision to not use or delay vaccines, know that you have rights. Please fill out one of our vaccine harassment feedback forms at Reporting Vaccine Harassment and Discrimination Stories.

First of all, there are exemptions available for vaccine mandates.  So if a health provider or school nurse tells you that your child can't go to school unless they are fully vaccinated, they are not telling you the truth - there are legal exemptions to vaccination.

Secondly, if anyone tell you that you are abusing your child or if they threaten to call child protective services, or actually files a false report,  know that you have the legal right to refuse a vaccine and refusing to consent to a vaccine by itself in Texas is not considered abuse. You have rights and remedies under the law. 

Law abiding families who have legal exemptions to vaccinate have found it helpful to provide a copy of this web page and verbally informing the person making the threats that making a false report of child abuse is a illegal Texas. The Texas family code states:

261.107. False Report; Penalty

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or intentionally makes a report as provided in this chapter that the person knows is false or lacks factual foundation. An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted under this section, in which case the offense is a state jail felony.

As a matter of fact, CPS cannot even initiate an investigation for you choosing not to immunize your child.  In 2003, the Texas Legislature amended the Government Code to read:


(a) In this section:
(1) "Person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare" has the meaning assigned by Section 261.001, Family
(2) "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.
(b) The commissioner by rule shall prohibit a health andhuman services agency from taking a punitive action against a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare forfailure of the person to ensure that the child receives theimmunization series prescribed by Section 161.004, Health and Safety Code.
(c) This section does not affect a law, including Chapter 31, Human Resources Code, that specifically provides a punitive action for failure to ensure that a child receives the immunization series prescribed by Section 161.004, Health and Safety Code.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 198, 2.04, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

If someone makes a complaint against your family to child protective services for not immunizing your child, you may want to contact your local District Attorney's office to file a criminal complaint asking for an investigation to be done and that you would like the maximum penalty of a class A misdemeanor which involves jail time if the person is found guilty. By the definition of the laws above, it is a false complaint. We need to get these offenses on record. If anyone including doctors make repeated false claims, the law provides the punishment of a state jail felony. Please copy us on all correspondence so we can take this to our legislators.

If your doctor uses the threat of CPS to coerce you into consenting to giving a vaccine to your child that you do not want to give, we strongly urge you to file a complaint with the Texas Board of Medical Examiners in addition to your County district attorney to initiate an investigation into false reporting.  If the harassment comes from a school employee, bringing this to the attention of school district administrators and boards can sometimes be helpful.

Please report instances of harassment to us using our form to subscribe to our newsletter. We can help you contact your legislators to help put a stop to this illegal intimidation campaign.  Thank you!


History -

Even before this new law was passed, it was not the policy of the CPS to investigate based on immunization status alone.  A letter from the director of Child Protective Services dated December 14, 1999 posted below to the director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons states, "If the only presenting problem in the report of abuse and neglect is a lack of immunizations and no other risk factors are noted in the situation, it is unlikely that the situation will be accepted for investigation."

Texas Child Protective Services Letter (PDF - 500 KB)

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August 15, 2008

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