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Pushing back against NYS end to religious exemptions for vaccines

Posted at 11:44 PM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 23:44:28-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — Dozens of people packed the Love Story Christian Family Library in Cheektowaga on Friday night to share how New York State's end to religious exemptionsfor vaccines effects their lives. The law went into effect this school year.

"It's definitely affecting me we were given 75 days notice and had to figure out how to home school our kids," said TJ Stewart of Clarence.

Assemblyman David DiPietro (R-East Aurora) said the hundreds of emails and calls he's received from people against the law sparked the forum.

"The message here is there's hope, we're going to fight this," he said. "This was an overreach tremendously by the far left in ALbany to take away religious civil liberties and we're going to let them know we're not going to stand for it."

The policy change comes following the worst measles outbreak in decades. Stewart said he's against the law because it takes away personal choice.

"As a parent I'm very much in favor of vaccinations, if you want to vaccinate tour child," he said. "But just as much as you should have the right to vaccinate your child you should also have the right to not vaccinate your child."

Some parents at the forum were against the law for religious reasons, others for what they said are health reasons. Over the summer, Dr. Gale Burstein with the Erie County Health Department urged parents to vaccinate their kids.

"We definitely, comfortably say that vaccines are safe, vaccines are effective and we encourage all families to get their recommended vaccines," Burstein said.

DiPietro introduced a bill last week in Albany to reinstate religious exemptions. He said within the next two weeks he'll put forward another bill, that could be seen as more of a compromise for the two sides, allowing religious exemptions just for private schools.