A federal judge has ruled against a West Virginia mom who wanted her daughter to be excused from school vaccination requirements due to fears about autism.

Jennifer Workman sued in April so that her 6-year-old daughter could attend public school without being vaccinated. She cited fears about autism and religious beliefs.

Specifically, Workman says she does not want to vaccinate the girl because her older daughter, now age 13, has pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, severe sleep disorders and other behavioral problems, which began around the time of vaccination.

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Some parents suspect a link between vaccines and autism, but numerous scientific studies have not found any connection.

Additionally, Workman said her Christian beliefs mean she must protect her daughter from harm and immunizing the girl would be counter to that. West Virginia does not allow for immunization exemptions on religious grounds.

Workman did obtain a medical exemption from a psychiatrist who said that the older daughter’s diagnoses suggested a heightened risk for the younger girl if she were to be vaccinated. However, the local school district did not find this valid and would not allow Workman’s daughter to attend school without being vaccinated.

In a recent order, U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin sided with the school district. “This topic is a sensitive one. An increasing number of parents across the country question the safety of vaccinations — particularly the purported relationship between vaccinations and autism… However, little evidence supports the claim that standard vaccinations are unsafe,” he wrote.

Workman reportedly plans to appeal.

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