What Are Your Rights? Law Repeals a Religious Exemption for School Vaccine Requirements in NY

Woman: Welcome back everyone. Amid the largest measles outbreak in recent history, the mayor of New York City previously declared a public health emergency and the state legislature passed a law repealing a religious exemption. The new proposal would now take the push for all children to be vaccinated one step further and could soon require that they also be vaccinated against HPV. Here to help examine this issue is managing partner, Paul Harding, from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, welcome.

Paul: Thank you.

Woman: Thank you for being here. All right, so there have been some legal challenges to the law that repealed the religious exemptions for parents who didn’t want to have their children vaccinated. What’s the current status of those legal challenges?

Paul: Right. So the law came out, a lot of people didn’t like it. We saw the Supreme Court, which is our trial court, said, “No, no, we’re going to affirm the law.” It then went to the appellate division. Appellate division said, “Nope, we’re not going to touch it.” And so currently, right now, it’s scheduled to be heard in the court of appeals, which is the highest court in the land, and if they affirm it, then that law is going to stay.

Woman: So we’re still waiting to see what happens there.

Paul: We’re still waiting, yeah.

Woman: All right. So let’s talk a little bit about this new proposed bill. What would that do?

Paul: So you mentioned the HPV. It’s a vaccination and it is pretty effective. About 92% of cancers can be stopped if you have that vaccination, if you’re inoculated. And the question here always is, yeah, it’s a good thing, but when is the government going too far? You know, are they saying it’s no longer worrying about everyone else, it’s not worrying about what you’re going to do for your kid and your own health? And that’s the debate. Is this going too far, if this law passes right now? It’s just being proposed.

Woman: All right. So how do you ultimately see this playing out?

Paul: Well, if the law is passed, I believe the court of appeals is going to affirm the nonreligious exemption. I believe they would do the same thing for the HPV and we would start having a lot more of the…and again, lots of good, but the debate is going to be about the governmental control of what we’re allowing for our children and maybe even for us.

Woman: All right. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how all of this plays out. Paul, thank you so much for being here.

Paul: You’re welcome.