June 14, 2019 -- Reacting to an ongoing measles outbreak, New York state has eliminated the religious exemption for not vaccinating children.
Most school systems require proof of vaccination to allow a child to attend class, but by claiming their religion doesn't allow vaccinations, parents could duck the requirement, the Associated Press reported.
Not everybody was happy about the new law. Parents of hundreds of unvaccinated kids protested in Albany claiming the law violated religious freedom.
"People came to this country to get away from exactly this kind of stuff," Stan Yung, a Long Island attorney, told the AP.
Those who supported the bill said that religion shouldn't trump science. In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court said states can enforce vaccination laws.
When the bill was debated in the Assembly, members reminded their colleagues of the deadly disease prevented by vaccines.
"I'm old enough to have been around when polio was a real threat," said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Manhattan. "I believe in science.... Your personal opinions, which may be based on junk science, do not trump the greater good," the AP reported.