Federal Judge Upholds NYC Law Barring Unvaccinated Students During Illness

Federal Judge William F. Kuntz II of the District Court in Brooklyn has upheld New York City’s controversial policy that bars students from going to school if they are ill with a condition that is preventable by vaccine.

This case represents a disturbing case of government dictating what parents must put into their children’s bodies in the name of “public safety” without concern for religious objection.

brooklyn federal court

New York Times– Citing a 109-year-old Supreme Court ruling that gives states broad power in public health matters, Judge William F. Kuntz II of Federal District Court in Brooklyn ruled against three families who claimed that their right to free exercise of religion was violated when their children were kept from school, sometimes for a month at a time, because of the city’s immunization policies.

The Supreme Court, Judge Kuntz wrote in his ruling, has “strongly suggested that religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations.”

The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Patricia Finn, said she plans to appeal the decision, announced this month. On Thursday, Ms. Finn asked the district court to rehear the case.

Amid concerns by public health officials that some diseases are experiencing a resurgence in areas with low vaccination rates, the decision reinforces efforts by the city to balance a strict vaccine mandate with limited exemptions for objectors. Pockets of vaccination refusal persist in the city, despite high levels of vaccination overall.

State law requires children to receive vaccinations before attending school, unless a parent can show religious reservations or a doctor can attest that vaccines will harm the child. Under state law, parents claiming religious exemptions do not have to prove their faith opposes vaccines, but they must provide a written explanation of a “genuine and sincere” religious objection, which school officials can accept or reject…

State law requires children to receive vaccinations before attending school, unless a parent can show religious reservations or a doctor can attest that vaccines will harm the child. Under state law, parents claiming religious exemptions do not have to prove their faith opposes vaccines, but they must provide a written explanation of a “genuine and sincere” religious objection, which school officials can accept or reject.

While having one’s child may be a good idea to prevent certain diseases, making it a prerequisite to attend schools is an entirely different issue. What is at stake is parents’ ability to choose how they treat their children for disease.

Will the government have the power to order whatever it deems necessary be injected by needle into children? This is another attack on parenting rights in America through the court system.

The “public safety” citation is very subjective, and there have been many cases where governments have use such a line of reasoning for horrible atrocities. This is not to say such is the intention behind this ruling, but the precedent it sets is troubling.

Read the full article from the New York Times here.

Follow Seth on Twitter: @sconnell1776
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