The New York State Assembly went into a vote, which decided upon elimination of exemption of vaccine mandates for school going children on religious grounds. The decision was taken in the wake of the worst spate of measles in several decades.
The chamber, which was led by the Democrats, approved the new bill on Thursday, while the Senate planned to respond appropriately subsequently. 46 other states in the US allow similar exemptions, though the lawmakers in quite a number of those states are toying with the idea of doing away with the waiver. The state of Maine saw an exemption in early 2019.
Supporters are of the opinion that some quarters opposing the vaccine have spread misinformation, thus creating a public health crisis, and exposing kids who are unable to take the vaccine due to medical reasons at a major risk.
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York iterated that he backs elimination of the exemption. Parents of children who have not received vaccination gathered in hundreds at the Capitol in New York prior to the Thursday votes to protest what many believed, was a blow towards their religious freedom.
Attorney of Long Island, Stan Yung, who is also a father and a Russian Orthodox, said that his religious views, as well as health concerns, would prevent him from vaccinating his three kids. He decided to leave the state with his family if the bill waiving religious exemption is passed and the law is made.
As the Assembly saw the bill enjoying a 77-53 majority vote, the ones opposing it burst into anger, shouting shame slogans with one of them, as a woman, stood up to the Assembly gallery and hurled profanities on the lawmakers, who had then left for the day. Supporters, however, are of the opinion that religious beliefs should not overwhelm the scientific reasons and social compulsion of the vaccination. They cited the 1905 US Supreme Court Law that gave rights to US states to make vaccination compulsory.
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