A New York judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by a group of anonymous anti-vaxxer parents, alleging religious discrimination, on Dec. 3. New York changed its vaccination exception rules in June after New York City became the center of the biggest measles outbreak in nearly 30 years.
The outbreak, which was traced to October 2018, was declared over in September 2019. “While acknowledging respect for religious beliefs, the legislative memoranda expressed the collective legislative view that public health concerns should prevail,” Acting Justice Denise Hartman wrote in her decision.
Hartman said the legislature was not required to hold hearings. “The fact that the Legislature enacted the repeal without public hearings and debate does not suggest religious animus. The Legislature is entitled to rely on findings and recommendations of the CDC and other public health officials,” Harman wrote. “It was not required to hold fact finding hearings and debates about the science and medicine of vaccinations and the impacts on those with sincerely held religious beliefs before enacting the repeal.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James praised the ruling. “Vaccines ensure the health and safety of our children, our families, and our communities,” James said in a statement on Saturday. “This law will help protect New Yorkers from experiencing any additional public health crises, which is why we vigorously defended it.”
On Saturday, Michael Sussman, attorney for the plaintiffs, posted his (obvious) dismay for the ruling to Facebook. He wrote that he’s “conferring” with other attorneys about a possible appeal.
This dismissal is the latest victory for public health advocates. California, Maine, West Virginia, and Mississippi have already eliminated religious and personal belief exemptions, according to Courthouse News.
Being an anti-vaxxer has become a way for C-list celebrities like “free thinker” Jenna Jameson to seem like edgy thought leaders who are just asking questions, or an excuse for people to assault legislators attempting to keep our herd immunity up. But actually, they’ve been given oxygen to dangerous ideology that’s leading the sickness and death of people.