Landmark Anti-Vaccination Decision in New York

From: The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER Vol 2, No 9 March 10, 2002

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In many states including New York, it has always been relatively simple to attend school without ANY shots if you have a religious exemption. ( and ) But what about parents of children that are already partially immunized, and change their mind? They have often been denied a religious exemption due to health department or school officials' claims that their religious beliefs are not "sincerely held" since they have already had vaccinations prior to their new request for religious exemption.

In January, 2002, U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Telesca wrote an important precedent-setting decision: "This court may not pass on the wisdom of belief, nor on the manner upon which she came to hold that belief, provided that she maintains a sincere and genuine religious objection to immunization." In other words, once a person decides, for reasons of religious conscience, that they do not want any more shots, their decision is valid even if they previously had their child immunized.

The case is also important because the family in question was devoutly Roman Catholic. The Vatican is not opposed to vaccination. This decision allows individual members of a mainstream church organization to hold personal spiritual beliefs in addition to their church's official doctrine.

What's more, the family had previously sought, and been denied, a medical exemption from vaccination. The judge's ruling renders this point irrelevant.

(Tokasz, J (2002) Judge forces school to accept girl. Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle, Thurs Jan 31, p B-1)

Much more on the compulsive immunization controversy is posted at these excellent sites:



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