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New York ends religious exemptions for vaccines, Gov. Cuomo signs bill into law

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-13 21:32:23-04

New York is now requiring all schoolchildren to be vaccinated, even if parents have religious objections.

A bill to end religious exemptions for vaccinations passed both the State Senate and Assembly Thursday afternoon, and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed it into law.

Existing New York State law requires all children in the state to get immunizations, including measles, mumps and rubella.

Now the only exemption under the law is if a physician excuses a child if there's a medical reason to do so.

Assemblyman Pat Burke co-sponsored this bill, 7 EWN spoke to him back in February about exemptions.

"If someone has an auto-immune disease and just can't have it, or there are several reasons why someone can't be vaccinated, those are the exemptions," he said.

The United States is experiencing the worst outbreak of measles since the disease was eradicated in 2000.

Recent numbers from the CDC show reported measles cases are at 1,022.

Senator David Carlucci, who also co-sponsored the bill says this is a matter of public health.

"People say 'Well I'm healthy, it's my choice, I can do what I want to do. The reality is that why we ask you to get vaccinated is not necessarily just for yourself, it's to protect those that can't get vaccinated," he said.

Southtowns mother Marina Williams sued the state and the Orchard park school district, after they denied her daughters from attending school because they aren't vaccinated.

Williams said vaccines are against her family's religion, and are considered "foreign substance that is not naturally found in the body".

A State Supreme Court Judge ruled against her. Her two daughters now attend a different school which the family wishes not to disclose.

California does not allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children because of religious or personal beliefs.