GUEST VIEW: Ending the religious exemption for vaccines is constitutional

The following editorial was published in the New York Daily News:

(TNS) Acting like members of some cult blind to science and public health, a mob of anti-vaccine kooks packed an Albany courtroom Wednesday to watch lawyers argue their ludicrous case that parents have a constitutional right to spread communicable diseases and endanger the lives of others. Their deluded leader, Robert Kennedy Jr., was there supporting the spectacle.

The crowd of more than a 1,000 required an overflow room at the courthouse and rallied outside. They think their theatrical show of strength — like the display they made at the Capitol in June after failing to block the repeal of religious exemptions from vaccination — will sway the court. It must not.

After America’s worst measles outbreak in more than a quarter century, which centered in heavily ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas of Brooklyn and Rockland County, the Legislature had the guts to finally end the easy way out of the shots. Only a medical waiver, on a case-by-case basis, can excuse youngsters from getting their vaccines.

The anti-vaxxers claim it violates the First Amendment, showing they know very little about both vaccines and the First Amendment.

Vaccines are safe. No credible science exists showing otherwise. None.

The First Amendment has some sensible limits, including on religion. And requiring a benign, but life-saving shot, violates no one’s freedom of conscience.

New Yorkers who don’t want to vaccinate their kids are still free to do so; they’ll just have to homeschool their kids, or keep them out of day camp or any other similar public gathering place. Parents claiming religious exemption to avoid vaccinating their children aren’t expressing religious liberty — they’re violating the social contract that binds us all.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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