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question for those who used religious exemptions to avoid newborn screening

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm 32 weeks pregnant and I'll be avoiding the vit. k, eye ointment, and hep b shot. Here's a little background:

My state only does religious exemption for newborn screening. After I spoke with the nurse from my state health dept. she said that they don't do exemptions for newborn screening and I need to go to the hospital where I'm delivering to get one. Then I explained to her further what I am trying to avoid and that the law in our state only does religious exemption for newborn screening. Then she said that I need to go to my local health dept. and get a religious exemption there.

So my question is this: Is the religious exemption for newborn screening any different than a religious one for immunizations? I know that for the hepatitis B shot I can just refuse it.

TIA

ETA: I'm in Utah
post #2 of 28
I am not sure I quite understand. You are wanting to get an exception from the newborn screening tests like for PKU and other metabolic disorders?
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I guess I should make myself clear. I want to get an exemption from vitamin k shot, eye ointment and the hep B shot. Those are part of the newborn screening tests that are required by my state. The only way to avoid that is to do an specific birth plan and to have a religious exemption which is the only one my state allows, does that make sense? The exemption would be for those procedures when my baby is born and the nurse said that since it doesn't have anything to do with immunizations that the hospital would have the religious exemption, not them. So now I'm wondering if the religious exemption that I want for the newborn screening is different than the one for an immunization. I just want to have the right papers with me ahead of time. TIA
post #4 of 28
You may also want to try posting this in the Tribal Area forum for Utah, to target it specifically to people who live in your state who may have experience with this. I don't have any information, but I sure hope you find out what you need to know.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
That's true, thanks
post #6 of 28
I think the confusion is that those things are not screenings, they are preventive treatments and the like. The heb B IS an immunization of course, so that's a bit odd. The PKU heel stick is a newborn screening. They might just be talking about all the procedures tossed together, who knows. Anyway. You have an absolute right to refuse the administration of things to your baby; I would definitely ask on the Utah FYT board for folks familiar with the law as it stands. I have heard that in NYS it's more of a legal issue, and in some states it is an all or nothing thing (you have to refuse all or get all) but someone from Utah will know best...

We did the K and nothing else with DD, in a hospital in CA 3 years ago
post #7 of 28
I think the healt dept nurse you spoke to was smoking crack
I refused all three with my son two years ago without a problem. It's a simple waiver they bring you...although yes, in hospital, it is something you will need to discuss with everyone beforehand, and mention (probably more than once) to nurses during your stay.
Vaccination exemption is assumed to be philosophical, and an exemption form is not required until you enroll your child in school. IIRC, if you do well baby checks you will be asked to sign at each visit stating that you have refused vaccination, to CYdoctorsA.
Good luck to you!
A Utah mom
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post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
St. Margaret that's true, those are preventive measures its just that they're included in the screening. Yeah I xposted on my tribe. I think here in my state it's all or nothing. I just find it so amazing how difficult they make your life when you are trying to get just one piece of paper . Anyway thanks for your help
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by babyjelly View Post
I think the healt dept nurse you spoke to was smoking crack
I refused all three with my son two years ago without a problem. It's a simple waiver they bring you...although yes, in hospital, it is something you will need to discuss with everyone beforehand, and mention (probably more than once) to nurses during your stay.
Vaccination exemption is assumed to be philosophical, and an exemption form is not required until you enroll your child in school. IIRC, if you do well baby checks you will be asked to sign at each visit stating that you have refused vaccination, to CYdoctorsA.
Good luck to you!
A Utah mom
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I agree lol. She asked me what religion I was and I didn't tell her I just said I'm trying to follow the law and here you need a religious exemption for that. Then she tried to scare me with scare tactics and gave me a huge speech all after I was transferred four times and given the wrong number. Anyway I'm glad it worked out for you. I'll be calling my hospital to get the waiver and we're doing a birth plan jic so we can distribute it to the staff that comes in and out of the room and we'll make sure to tell them too. Just out of curiosity though when you refused them for your son and you told your dr. did he/she give you a hard time about it?

Thank you all again for the responses
post #10 of 28
Do people actually have religious objections to these tests? I'm curious as to the reasoning. I know some vaccines are cultured from aborted fetal tissue (or were originally, or something), but I'm having a hard time seeing why any religion would be against vitamin K or eye ointment. Is it animal-derived vitamin K, making it a problem for vegans (not that veganism is a religion, obviously, but it'd count as a philosophical objection)? Or...?

You should be able to decline anything they plan on charging you for, right?
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Do people actually have religious objections to these tests? I'm curious as to the reasoning. I know some vaccines are cultured from aborted fetal tissue (or were originally, or something), but I'm having a hard time seeing why any religion would be against vitamin K or eye ointment. Is it animal-derived vitamin K, making it a problem for vegans (not that veganism is a religion, obviously, but it'd count as a philosophical objection)? Or...?

You should be able to decline anything they plan on charging you for, right?
I don't know if people actually do have religious objections to these tests. My problem is that for the procedures I want to avoid for my son they're part of the newborn screening and for me to avoid them my state only allows a religious exemption. I'm christian and I think my religion really don't care but I'll still do everything I can to get that exemption. I do have other reasons to not want those procedures done on my son so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to decline them, I just want to have a document supporting my rights to decline them when I'm at the hospital.
post #12 of 28
Perhaps speak with staff from the Labor and Delivery department at the hospital you'll deliver at to get thier answer.

Also found this:
http://www.vaclib.org/exempt/utah.htm

I'm not in Utah but when my son was born the only waivor I recall signing was for Vit. K. I noted in my birth plan not to administer eye medication nor Hep B vaccination also. He did have the PKU blood test and hearing test.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRmama View Post
I don't know if people actually do have religious objections to these tests. My problem is that for the procedures I want to avoid for my son they're part of the newborn screening and for me to avoid them my state only allows a religious exemption. I'm christian and I think my religion really don't care but I'll still do everything I can to get that exemption. I do have other reasons to not want those procedures done on my son so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to decline them, I just want to have a document supporting my rights to decline them when I'm at the hospital.

I would defnitely get it straight when you are talking to them whether you are talking about the newborn screening, or the vitk, eye goop and vax.

The vit k, eye goop and hep b shot all have risks associated with them, but can be mandated by the state. You could could argue for any of these that you don't agree that the procedure's benefits outweigh the risks. You should be able to sign a waiver, and that's that.

For the newborn screening (heel stick with the card that they put dots of blood on) there is very little or no risk to baby. you aren't putting anything inside the child, it's just a prick on the heel. This you may have a hard time explaining or getting any exemption for. I'm guessing there are some religions that oppose the drawing of blood. (jehovah's witnesses, I think?).

If you mix up the terms, it could be possible that you are getting incorrect info from nurse/hospital.

I would learn more about the risks and benefits to all these procedures. From reading before my son was born many on this board do not object to the newborn screen (heel stick). We did the newborn screen and the vit k. We delayed the hep b (this is quite common) and eye ointment wasn't an issue since he wasn't born vaginally.
post #14 of 28
A lot of people skip the Hep B, Vit K and eye ointment. (I did the eye ointment but not the other two). But even if you skip those interventions, it's really worth it to do the metabolic disorders screen (Usually called the PKU test, though it tests for a lot more than PKU).
It's not an intervention, persay -- there's nothing that goes into the baby. It's just a blood draw. The screen tests for a whole bunch of metabolic disorders that can leave your child profoundly physically and mentally disabled if not caught in time, but with strict dietary regimens the child can be basically unaffected.
I skipped almost all of the interventions, but I would never skip the metabolic screening. There's no risk, and the potential payoff is huge.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I'm going to call the hospital later and see what they say. I know here in my state I can refuse the hep b shot but I might need to sign a waiver for the other two. Okay so now I have a couple questions so please bear with me

Quote:
I would defnitely get it straight when you are talking to them whether you are talking about the newborn screening, or the vitk, eye goop and vax.
Yes definitely, thanks for pointing that out. According to the site mentioned by a pp that I've been checking out those three procedures are part of the newborn screening here in my state. I'll be calling the hospital later and clarify with them.

Quote:
We delayed the hep b (this is quite common) and eye ointment wasn't an issue since he wasn't born vaginally.
Sorry for asking, so for cesareans they don't do the ointment? I asked the health dept nurse here in my state and she said that here they still do it even with cesareans because the baby is still getting bodily fluids from the mother with the c-section. Maybe she's wrong I don't know, but one more thing to ask the hospital about just to be sure.

Quote:
I skipped almost all of the interventions, but I would never skip the metabolic screening. There's no risk, and the potential payoff is huge.
Okay so for the pku (sorry I'm still researching this one so I don't know a lot about it yet) they're also checking for metabolic disorders? When I did a search on this forum I found a thread about this topic. Basically the mamas were talking about different kinds of the needle that pokes the baby and which one was better, also to keep the foot warm so that the blood can flow easier and faster (I'll try to find the thread again). Anyway so my question with the pku test is this. Do they do this test twice? Once when you have the baby and the next time at the ped's office? I remember that with my son his ped did something similar and poked his heel and used the card to draw up the blood. Maybe I'm confusing tests. I guess I'll be researching this one more

Thank you all again for the responses
post #16 of 28
Quote:
I don't know if people actually do have religious objections to these tests. My problem is that for the procedures I want to avoid for my son they're part of the newborn screening and for me to avoid them my state only allows a religious exemption. I'm christian and I think my religion really don't care but I'll still do everything I can to get that exemption. I do have other reasons to not want those procedures done on my son so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to decline them, I just want to have a document supporting my rights to decline them when I'm at the hospital.
Oh, absolutely. I declined them myself (it's no big deal here). I was just curious if there were any sort of codified religious reasons to avoid them, and what they'd be.

And yeah, I'd definitely do the heel prick test.
post #17 of 28
What hospital will you be birthing at?
My son was born at home, and my MW expected me to refuse everything
For my daughters, though, I birthed in hospital and elected to have the K and ointment, but refuse the Hep B. It was not an issue at all in the hospital (my ped was another issue altogether).
The metabolic screen aka PKU aka heel stick is usually done twice, once at birth and once at two weeks. I would never skip it entirely, but I only do it once, at about ten days. This has never been a problem either, and I did not have to get an exemption.
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post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Oh, absolutely. I declined them myself (it's no big deal here). I was just curious if there were any sort of codified religious reasons to avoid them, and what they'd be.

And yeah, I'd definitely do the heel prick test.
You know I wonder that too. A lot of the states seem to do only the religious exemption if you don't want to have the newborn screen tests so it makes me wonder why the religious exemption and not like philosophical.

Yeah I do want to do the heel prick test but I'm still searching that one and have questions about it.

Quote:
What hospital will you be birthing at?
My son was born at home, and my MW expected me to refuse everything
For my daughters, though, I birthed in hospital and elected to have the K and ointment, but refuse the Hep B. It was not an issue at all in the hospital (my ped was another issue altogether).
The metabolic screen aka PKU aka heel stick is usually done twice, once at birth and once at two weeks. I would never skip it entirely, but I only do it once, at about ten days. This has never been a problem either, and I did not have to get an exemption.
At IMC, I wish I could have a homebirth. Anyway I'm sorry you had issues with your pediatrician. I have a really nice pediatrician that I take my son to and he's non vax friendly but the staff at this hospital is another story. They can get pretty pushy as they did with me when I had my son and did not want the hep b shot. They pressured me so much and I was too weak to fight so I caved. This time I know better though.

So with the pku why is it done twice? And is it something that can be done at just the pediatric's office? I mean I would like to be there and nurse my son when that happens. Also since I xposted on my tribe I was told to keep the heel warm. So do I bring like a warm pad with me or does the staff have that on hand? Sorry I guess I should start another thread about it. Anyway TIA
post #19 of 28
PKU is just one of the disorders they test for -- depending on the state, they test for a pretty large number of metabolic disorders (basically, genetic disorders relating to the way your body metabolizes food.) The reason why it's so essential to catch them is because if the symptoms show up, the damage is already done. But with specialized diets, the child can be pretty much unaffected.
A lot of hospitals do two screens, while most midwives only do one. I forget what they say the optimal day is for doing the screen. It's after your milk comes in, maybe on day 7? Someone here should know.
Also, nursing and warming the heel definitely make it easier on the baby. My midwife used a washcloth that she ran under hot water, and I nursed while she did it. My baby cried, but for less than a minute. I've heard the test can be pretty traumatic when it's done roughly.
I'm pretty sure you can get it done at your pediatrician's office.
post #20 of 28
More info re. the metabolic test state by state:

http://genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu/nbsdisorders.pdf
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