HealthDay News — Reacting to an ongoing measles outbreak, New York state has eliminated the religious exemption for not vaccinating children.
Most school systems require proof of vaccination to allow a child to attend class, but by claiming their religion does not allow vaccinations, parents could avoid the requirement, the Associated Press reported.
Not everyone was happy about the new law. Parents of hundreds of unvaccinated children protested in Albany claiming the law violated religious freedom. “People came to this country to get away from exactly this kind of stuff,” Stan Yung, a Long Island attorney, told the AP.
Those who supported the bill said that religion should not trump science. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court said states can enforce vaccination laws. When the bill was debated in the Assembly, members reminded their colleagues of the deadly disease prevented by vaccines. “I’m old enough to have been around when polio was a real threat,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan, the AP reported. “I believe in science … Your personal opinions, which may be based on junk science, do not trump the greater good.”