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New York ends religious exemption for vaccines

by Kiley Crossland
Posted 6/14/19, 11:29 am

New York eliminated an religious exemption to the state’s vaccination requirements for schoolchildren on Thursday amid the nation’s worst measles outbreak in decades. The Democratic-majority state Senate and Assembly voted to repeal the exemption, which allowed parents who enroll their children in schools to cite religious beliefs as their motivation for not vaccinating. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the bill into law just minutes after the final vote. The law, which took effect immediately, gives unvaccinated students up to 30 days after they enter a school to show they have had the first dose of each required immunization.

Most of this year’s reported cases of measles have been in New York City, where there have been 588 confirmed cases since September 2018, mostly in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Christian parents who used the exemption cited the Bible, which says that God primarily entrusts children to their parents, not the government. Buddhist and Shinto families said the vaccines interfered with the natural course of an illness. Some Orthodox Jewish parents had reacted to unfounded claims about the origins of some of the vaccines published in a “vaccine safety” booklet that was widely distributed in their community.

“I understand freedom of religion,” Cuomo said on Wednesday. “I have heard the anti-vaxxers’ theory, but I believe both are overwhelmed by the public health risk.”

Religious exemptions for vaccines are still allowed in 45 states, though lawmakers in several have introduced legislation to eliminate the waiver.

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Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

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  • Narissara
    Posted: Sat, 06/15/2019 09:08 am

    Other sources are reporting this legislation was rammed through both chambers of the New York legislature in one day with no public hearings. Why is none of that mentioned here?  Is that not accurate?  

  • cln
    Posted: Mon, 06/17/2019 09:37 pm

    The department of Health and Human Services insists that voluntary consent is essential for medical procedures. The debacle in New York is about coercion. So it is in California, Mississippi, West Virginia and now New York...and coming to other states. The darling of the pharma is being forced on the public. A violation of our civil liberties and human rights. To have coerced vaccinations against your beliefs, religioius or otherwise, is totally un-American in nature and very like the holocaust in principle. 

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Tue, 06/25/2019 02:04 pm

    Cln, I have read your other posts on this matter with interest.  Your concerns deserve to be heard.  Do not other concerns deserve to be heard without condemnation, too?  Do steps taken to alleviate health risks deserve to be compared to the Holocaust, which took quite the opposite view?  The State has a difficult balance to strike between individual rights and the safety of the whole.