Good News – Science and Secularism Wins: In good news for public health and the cause of reason, a New York judge has tossed out a lawsuit by anti-vaxxers claiming the state’s law mandating vaccines for school children constitutes “religious discrimination.”
The lawsuit objected to a new state law in New York that would no longer allow parents to use religious objections to justify enrolling their unvaccinated children in school.
New York recently changed the law after a measles outbreak overwhelmed two Jewish orthodox communities in the state. Under the new law, the state will continue to honor medical exemptions, but parents can no longer use religious objections to justify enrolling their unvaccinated children in school.
In her decision to throw out the lawsuit, Justice Denise Hartman wrote:
Celebrating the decision, New York Attorney General Letitia James said:
While acknowledging respect for religious beliefs, the legislative memoranda expressed the collective legislative view that public health concerns should prevail.
The fact that the Legislature enacted the repeal without public hearings and debate does not suggest religious animus. The Legislature is entitled to rely on findings and recommendations of the CDC and other public health officials; it was not required to hold fact finding hearings and debates about the science and medicine of vaccinations and the impacts on those with sincerely held religious beliefs before enacting the repeal.
Vaccines ensure the health and safety of our children, our families, and our communities.
This law will help protect New Yorkers from experiencing any additional public health crises, which is why we vigorously defended it. We are pleased with the decision by the court.
Bottom line: Preserving the vaccine mandate in New York is good news for public health and the cause of reason, because public health concerns should always prevail over religious beliefs.