Two strikes for Senator Jeff Monroe of Pierre: on top of his foolish SB 97, which criminalizes mentioning that anyone in South Dakota has a gun, Senator Monroe dredges up some fringe paranoia with Senate Bill 98, a measure to make it easier to get your kids out of getting their shots.

Last year Sioux Falls wingnut Lora Hubbel proposed legislation that would have let parents opt their kids out of vaccinations for "personal beliefs." Her bill died. This year, Senator Monroe tries the same thing with different language. His SB 98 expands the existing vaccine exemption from the teachings of religious doctrine to any "personal religious commitment." That's really just code for any old reason you care to think up. Funny how right-wingers embrace relativism when it suits their purposes.

SB 98 exemplifies the right wing's willful ignorance of the fact that individuals live in a society and that their actions affect others. We do vaccines to keep people from getting sick and dying. But vaccines don't do that unless we create herd immunity. That's probably just more socialism in the book of Monroe and his handful of co-sponsors, but dang it, it's how medicine works!

Senate Bill 98 fans the flames of right-wing paranoia at the expense of public health. We already have sufficient First Amendment protections in our vaccination requirements. Let's not weaken them further.

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