Can state courts uphold legislatively enacted prohibitions against personal vaccination exemptions?
Vaccine exemptions are a hot-button topic across the United States, and many jurisdictions have opted to uphold and fortify the notion that parents are in the best position to decide whether their child should receive vaccinations. Some states, however, have worked to whittle away at the exemptions historically offered to skeptical parents, and have essentially forced families to undergo vaccination regiments in order to enroll in public school.
In a recent case out of New York, parents have invoked their First Amendment religious freedom rights in opposing New York’s relatively expansive mandatory vaccine schedule. More specifically, the petitioners claim that vaccinating their child violates their closely held religious beliefs prohibiting the use of inoculations for any purpose. Accordingly, the petitioners further contend that the state of New York has implemented an unconstitutional vaccination program, which actually requires vaccines prior to entering preschool.
In their complaint, the petitioners set forth evidence to suggest that the novelty and usefulness of vaccinations do not outweigh the risk factors. Furthermore, petitioners contend that vaccines have not proven scientifically effective in controlling the spread of childhood illnesses, and that the only parties set to gain any real benefit from vaccination programs are large pharmaceutical companies.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a vaccination schedule of 69 different injections by the time a child reaches age 15.
The implications of this type of case are huge, particularly in light of other states like California with similarly expansive mandatory schedules and minimal rights to exemption. In sum, the case pits foundational constitutional religious freedom against the state’s interest in maintaining a mandatory vaccination program in its public schools. The results could be exceptionally impactful.
If you believe your child was injured by a vaccine or you would like to discuss your rights under current vaccination and exemption laws, please do not hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable vaccine injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Leah Durant, PLLC at 202-800-1711. We serve clients throughout the United States.