It is vital to my son’s education that religious and philosophical exemptions to the school vaccination requirement be restored in Maine.

My son is a 19-year-old who took a gap year to earn enough funds to help pay for his higher learning in his home state. Because he is not fully vaccinated, this bright, ambitious, caring and completely healthy young man, who wants to go into the health care field, will have to leave college and the in-state tuition offered to him. As a single mom, I worry about being able to afford education outside of Maine without getting him into the vicious cycle of student debt. Body autonomy is the most basic of rights and should not affect my son’s education.

This man was raised naturally by a father who is a doctor and a mother whose father was also a health care provider. He made it through his primary schooling without issue and with very few absences. Well-educated decisions went into his rearing, and he should not have to leave Maine (our home) because it no longer honors our religious beliefs.

When there is risk in a medical procedure, there must be choice. A law forcing students to leave schools and/or families to leave the state because they exercise their religious beliefs against a medical intervention is not a choice. That is coercion, and Maine citizens shouldn’t stand for it. I will be voting “yes” in March to repeal this mandate.

Victoria Perreault

Portland

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