N.Y. Court Upholds Repeal of Religious Exemption to Vaccination Requirement
From F.F. v. State, decided yesterday by New York’s intermediate appellate court (third department), in an opinion by Justice Stan Pritzker:
Public Health Law § 2164 requires children from the ages of two months to 18 years to be immunized from certain diseases, including measles, in order to attend any public or private school or child care facility. Initially, the school vaccination law contained two exemptions to this requirement: a medical exemption requiring a physician’s certification that a certain vaccination may be detrimental to a child’s health (hereinafter the medical exemption) and a non-medical exemption that required a statement by the parent or guardian indicating that he or she objected to vaccination on religious grounds ….
In 2000, public health officials declared that measles had been eliminated from the United States. However, after seven cases of measles were reported in Rockland County in the fall of 2018, a nationwide measles outbreak occurred that was largely concentrated in communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County with “precipitously low immunization rates.”
That October, following state regulations, both the State and County Commissioners of Health advised certain schools with reported cases of measles to exclude children who had not been vaccinated pursuant to the religious exemption. In January 2019, companion bills were introduced in the Senate and Assembly that proposed to repeal the religious exemption. On June 13, 2019, the Legislature voted to adopt the bills (hereinafter the repeal), which went into effect immediately ….
Plaintiffs raise a number of constitutional challenges, but primarily contend that the complaint alleged a viable cause of action that the repeal was motivated by active hostility towards religion and thus violated the Free Exercise Clause…. [P]laintiffs allege three reasons in their complaint why the repeal was not a [constitutionally valid] neutral law: first, that the Legislature failed to act during the height of the measles outbreak, asserting that the timing of the legislatio
Article from Latest – Reason.com