More than a thousand parents and children dressed in white for solidarity appealed to a judge to lift the ban against children whose parents exercised the right to religious exemption from some mandated childhood vaccines. New York State had signed off banning healthy unvaccinated school-age children from school. Public health officials failed to take reasonable precautions to protect the community, by failing to order those who are infected with a communicable disease to be isolated during the period of risk for others.
Below is a copy of the coverage by The Associated Press/ The New York Daily News. The New York Times (which calls itself the newspaper of record) did not regard the protest by members of the Amish, Orthodox Jewish, Christian & Muslim communities as worthy of reporting. That’s an example of selective, skewed news reports by the financially compromised media.
Aug 14, 2019 | 5:50 PM
Attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks after a hearing challenging the constitutionality of the state legislature’s repeal of the religious exemption to vaccination on behalf of New York state families who held lawful religious exemptions, during a rally outside the Albany County Courthouse Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Albany, N.Y.ALBANY — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his fellow anti-vaxxers flooded an Albany courtroom Wednesday as they implored a judge to overturn a state law barring kids who haven’t been vaccinated from attending school.Hundreds of white-clad supporters later descended on the Capitol to leave photos of their children outside Gov. Cuomo’s office in an attempt to draw the governor’s attention to thousands who will be affected.Rita Palma, the founder of a group called My Kids, My Choice, said new law, which ended an exception for kids whose parents objected to vaccines on religious grounds, will keep 26,000 children out of school and daycare. Palma said: ““I want him to hear us out. I want an elected official to hear us out. It’s not an outrageous demand. I want him to hear the grievances of these parents and the children that are accompanying them and I want him to see for himself the people that live in New York State and the consequences this has had on our life,” she added.
People wait in line to hear Attorneys Michael H. Sussman and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speak at a hearing challenging the constitutionality of the state legislature’s repeal of the religious exemption to vaccination on behalf of New York state families who held lawful religious exemptions, during a rally outside the Albany County Courthouse on Wednesday in Albany, N.Y.
A growing anti-vaccine movement has blossomed in the U.S. in recent years as skeptical parents question the safety or effectiveness of immunizations, often linking them to autism or other health issues, and decrying the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.
The mistrust has grown despite repeated warnings from medical professionals that vaccines are perfectly safe.
Anti-vaxxer protesters leave pictures of vaccinated kids who will not be able to attend school in September under new law ending religious exemption.
Thousands of doubters crowded into the state capital Wednesday as acting Albany County Supreme Court Justice Denise Hartman heard from Kennedy and attorney Michael Sussman as they called for a preliminary injunction blocking the law ahead of the start of the upcoming school year.
Hartman declined to immediately rule on whether she would grant the request. Last month, a different judge blocked the anti-vaxxers appeal for a temporary restraining order.
Much of the group made their way to the State Capitol Building following the court appearance and were denied entry to Cuomo’s office. The governor was not in the building at the time.
“You are defending one of the foundational, cornerstone rights of the American republic,” Kennedy told the crowd outside the courthouse.
New York became the epicenter of the nation’s worst measles outbreak in decades earlier this year as more than 1,000 cases of the deadly disease were confirmed in the state since last October. The majority of the cases were centered in Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County.
Lawmakers eliminated the religious exemption provision in June, as the outbreak reached historic proportions.
The suit was filed soon after by Kennedy, chairman of the anti-vaccination nonprofit Children’s Health Defense, and Sussman on behalf of 55 families. It argues that the ban on religious exemptions is unconstitutional and “unreasonably” interferes with religious freedom.
Attorney General Letitia James said lawmakers were only acting out of concern for public health.
“Vaccines ensure the health and safety of our children, our families, and our communities. This law will help protect New Yorkers from experiencing any additional public health crises, which is why we vigorously defended it,” she said. “We are pleased with today’s proceedings and look forward to hearing a favorable decision from the judge.”
Denis Slattery New York Daily News
[Denis Slattery is a reporter covering national politics and breaking news. He began working at the Daily News in January 2012.]