Judge Waits To Rule On Letting Unvaccinated Go To School

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A judge declined to immediately rule on whether to let unvaccinated children go back to school in New York after a hearing Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging a new state law eliminating religious exemptions to vaccines.

The state requires all students be vaccinated but previously made an exception for those whose parents objected on religious grounds. That exemption was repealed in June amid the nation’s worst measles outbreak in decades.

Civil rights lawyer Michael Sussman, representing 55 families who previously held religious exemptions, argued in state Supreme Court Wednesday that the repeal action was unconstitutional because it violated rights of religious expression. He sought an injunction blocking enforcement of the new law, saying 26,000 families would otherwise be unable to send their children to school when classes start in two weeks.

Sussman added that the law was rushed through without public hearings to explore the impacts and provide expert scientific testimony.

Assistant State Attorney General Helena Lynch said the legislative record is clear that the purpose of the law is to protect public health.

“We have to come back to the principle that the right to religious expression doesn’t include the right to put others in danger,” Lynch said.

It’s unclear when Judge Denise Hartman will rule on the injunction request.

Hundreds of parents and children dressed in white packed the hearing and lined up around the Albany courthouse in support of a religiou exemption. Some held signs saying, “My kids count” and “Freedom to choose.”

More than 1,000 measles cases have been confirmed in New York since last fall, with the majority in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City and its suburbs.

Supporters of the new law have also suggested some parents may be claiming a religious exemption even though their opposition to vaccination is actually based on scientifically discredited claims about the dangers of vaccines.

New York still allows exemption from vaccines for medical reasons such as a weakened immune system.

(AP)




4 COMMENTS

  1. If you are not vaccinated NO problem !!!!! Keep your kids at home away from our kids.
    You are all selfish!
    You have the right not to vaccinate, if you choose that, home school you kids!

  2. What needs to be understood here is that whatever your thoughts on vaccination, this bill sets a bad precedent. This bill removes a religious (yes, you will say it wasn’t really religious, but that doesn’t matter from a precedent standpoint) exemption to ALL vaccines, because of an outbreak of ONE vaccine preventable disease.

    On top of that, 60-80% of the cases were in non-school aged children, who therefore have no exemption altogether (data is straight and simple on the NYC and Rockland Country DOH sites).

    Now to say “no non-medical exemption to MMR, even if it’s a real religious belief, because of public health”, now you’re making a bit more sense. But to mandate ALL vaccines, some of which are not contagious diseases (i.e. tetanus) and ignore religious beliefs (even if most people think they are fake), under the umbrella of public health, is a precedent we shouldn’t be so quick to defend.

    Think about it, what does “vaccinated” even mean? People commenting online, and shuls putting up signs, saying “must be vaccinated”, what does that mean? Just MMR? Ok, fine, that’s not what this law did. Do you mean vaccinated according to the school schedule? Ok, but then why does somebody who is missing the tetanus shot not allowed in? What about someone who had 2 polio shots but not the required 3? What about someone who WAS vaccinated but it didn’t work for them? Are all those people also falling under “not vaccinated”?

    Again, to do NOTHING here is likely not the answer. Increasing MMR uptake makes sense, but to pass blanket laws like this and disregard religious beliefs, however loose they are, under the guise of public health which doesn’t apply to all the mandated vaccines, is not a precedent we should be celebrating. Indeed, it is one we should be fighting.

  3. Blame the people and their gleeful, reckless, short-sighted, fraudulent invocation of “religious” belief. The family of the young, healthy, EL-AL flight attendant who died from measles contracted on a flight from NY to TEL-AVIV likely don’t care about the nuances of people’s rights to act like idiots.

  4. Was the ELAL attendant vaccinated if so should she be immune? If these children pose a health risk, how are you going to keep them home? If they are denied access to schools they will probably be hanging out in the playground,pizza shops or the mall. So instead of being in school where everyone must be vaccinated, they in the public area spreading it to people who may no longer be immune. Also, since everyone except them are vaccinated they only pose a health risk to themselves. AS far as those that have a medical exemption, it is impossible to get a medical exemption.

    From a legal stand point the state must provide an education for all children between the ages of 6 – 16 no matter whether the child is vaccinated or not. Does the state or the school district have staff to provide each of these 26,000 student a substantial equivalent education as they can’t go to school. How will they provide gym in a non school environment? Suspend the law for a year giving the state time to plan how these 26,000 children are going to be educated. If a parent is concerned that their child may catch the disease, a surgical mask will prevent your child from inhaling germs.