Health

U.S. Supreme Court Won't Allow Parents To Challenge New York's Vaccination Rule For Kids

| by Michael Allen
Boy VaccinationBoy Vaccination

Three families, who challenged New York state's rule requiring children to be vaccinated before attending school, suffered a huge loss on Oct. 5 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their case.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that the vaccine requirement did not violate the students' religious freedom per the U.S. Constitution, noted Reuters.

The same court also ruled that students, who do get religious exemptions from vaccinations, can be banned from school during outbreaks of diseases that are preventable via vaccines.

The parents had argued that vaccinations can cause more harm than the benefits provided.

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New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement:

I applaud the Supreme Court for letting stand the Second Circuit's decision recognizing the validity of laws in both New York State and New York City requiring vaccinations for schoolchildren. Protecting children from debilitating communicable diseases should be a top priority.

"I'm disappointed but I think there's more coming," Patricia Finn, the lawyer for the three families, told the Associated Press.

"Throughout the country ... people are organizing and challenging these statutes," Finn added. "I don't know why the [Supreme] Court didn't take it. There's far more coming."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1905 in the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts that states had the legal power to require people to get vaccinated. That case was about a man who refused to get vaccinated for smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980 following global immunizations, notes the World Health Organization.

States are allowed to provide parents exemptions for children's vaccinations, which has been happening at a rising rate, the Associated Press reported in 2011.

Sources: Associated Press via Star Tribune, Associated Press via Yahoo! News, Reuters, Wikipedia, World Health Organization / Photo Credit: PV2 Andrew W. McGalliard/Wikimedia