North Carolina Law Review

University of North Carolina School of Law

160 Ridge Road

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

The Religious Exemption Loophole: A Building Public Health Crisis in North Carolina

March 26, 2020

98 N.C. L. REV. F. 59 (2020)


Across the United States, vaccine exemption rates have been on the rise, leading to the reemergence of previously eradicated diseases, such as measles. This trend is reflected in North Carolina, where increased use of the vaccination law’s religious exemption can be tied directly to outbreaks of whooping cough and chickenpox. Importantly, North Carolinians have increasingly used the religious exemption to cover nonreligious beliefs. This Recent Development argues that North Carolina could and should amend its vaccination laws to repeal the religious exemption. Past Supreme Court precedent supports taking such an action, and doing so would help North Carolina better protect public and individual health throughout the state.



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