Anti-Vaxxers Suing New York to Stop Law Ending Religious Exemptions

Anti-Vaxxers Suing New York to Stop Law Ending Religious Exemptions July 11, 2019
Robert F. Kennedy with anti-vaxxers at the Albany County Supreme Court

Prominent Anti-Vax Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Jr filed a lawsuit on behalf of 55 families in an attempt to overturn a new law that eliminated religious exemptions for vaccines. The lawsuit filed in Albany, New York hopes to stop the law from going into effect.

At Albany County Supreme Court, Robert F. Kennedy Jr filed the lawsuit along with attorney Michael Sussman. The two men were joined by dozens of parents protesting the new law.

Last month New York passed a law requiring all school-aged children to be vaccinated regardless of their parents religious or philosophical beliefs. The law was in response to a measles outbreak in two New York counties that have remained uncontained for months. Outbreaks in New York City and Rockland County have spread in ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities.

Despite the Jewish faith not having opposition to vaccines, a sect of ultra-Orthodox Jewish people have become wrongly convinced that vaccines cause autism. As a result, many in the community refuse to vaccinate their children.

New York public health officials have tried numerous measures to end the outbreak with little success. Last spring New York City enforced a $1,000.00 fine to families that failed to vaccinate their children. Despite the threat of fines, families remained committed to not vaccinating their children.

As a result, state lawmakers took a more permanent step by passing a law that requires school-aged children to obtain vaccinations before they enter school. When the law passed, hundreds of anti-vaxxers protested outside the State Capital.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is a leader in the anti-vaccine movement. Kennedy is the author of multiple books that discuss issues with vaccines. Additionally, he spreads misinformation that vaccines contain toxins that cause death and autism in children. Kennedy’s family denounced him in May for contributing to vaccine misinformation in the United States.

In a statement to the Daily News, Kennedy said,

“There are protocols in New York State dealing with the measles outbreak and those protocols were never used, instead they used the legislature to jam through a bill abolishing religious exemptions, not just for the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), but for 70 other vaccinations that have nothing to do with measles.”

He continued, “In this case, there is no science, just bigotry.”

Attorney Michael Sussman said,

“What’s at stake here in New York is of profound importance to the entire nation,” Sussman said after the hearing. “Without religious liberty, which is a bedrock principle of our country, we flounder, founder, and we violate critical rights of thousands and thousands of people in this state.”

Justice Michel Mackey said he will issue a ruling on the request for a temporary restraining order on Friday after the Attorney General Letitia James has time to file paperwork.

Many anti-vaxxers believe that there is a government conspiracy that the FDA, CDC, and Federal Government are withholding critical information about vaccine safety. Additionally, they believe that vaccines contribute to autism, death, and injuries despite hundreds of studies proving otherwise.

In the face of mounting scientific evidence that proves vaccine safety and efficiency, the anti-vaxxers prefer to believe pseudoscientific anecdotes about vaccines.

Stay Tuned.

*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

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  • Friend

    Some folks think the government is hiding information about preventing d1sease through vaccination, etc.

    Some folks think the government is hiding information about treating d1sease through chemo, etc.

    I wish these bankr@pt ideas would cancel each other out instead of robb1ng people of their health and their very lives.

    The virtue of d1sease is overrated. Natural things k1ll people all the time.

    (Above is a self-censored version of a comment that fell into the filter. This time I was able to copy it. I’ll delete if/when the other one shows up.)

  • WallofSleep
  • WallofSleep

    “Above is a self-censored version of a comment that fell into the filter.”

    So sick of the patheos censor-bots.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    In 1925, New York City was beset by a whooping cough epidemic. Among the victims were my grandfather’s two younger brothers. One of them literally died during the others funeral. There is absolutely no reason why anyone should have to go through what my family did.

  • Julian Edward Frost

    Wow! i’m so soryy to hear that.

  • kfunk937

    Good news, for now. The court has rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary stay. State Supreme Court Justice

    Mackey said “plaintiffs have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits sufficient to sustain their heavy burden at this stage of the newly filed action,” or demonstrated “that a balance of equities favors them and outweighs the public interest.”

    The article quotes

    Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat and fellow bill sponsor, said he remains “confident that the law will ultimately be upheld as constitutional, consistent with over a century of federal and state jurisprudence. New Yorkers are safer as a result.”


  • Have a read through this, Reality.

    It might be the problem.

  • Thanks sia.

    The original that went to moderation was finally approved after 2 days.
    It is the post above that starts with these words:
    The anti-vaccinationists at the center of the worst measles outbreak in 25 years are whining,”
    If you can see anything that the bot would pick to send it to moderation I’d be interested.

  • Joseph

    That would have been heartbreaking for your grandfather and his brothers.
    My deepest sympathy for them, and for all others affected by this disease.

  • Joseph

    The purpose of this law and of other pro vaccine mandates is simple:
    Vaccines save lives.
    If you have ever seen a case of measles, you’ll understand just what I mean.

  • Joseph

    Are you suggesting that anti vaxxers fail at math, at logic, and at biology?
    Ya know what?
    I can agree with that. 🙂

  • RainbowPhoenix

    His brothers were the ones that died. But yeah, Grandpa and his parents never really recovered from that.