End the Religious Exemption to Vaccination in New York!

Dear Friend of CFI in New York State:

We need your help to protect New Yorkers from preventable outbreaks. Diseases that had been eradicated are now coming back due to the spread of dangerous, anti-scientific, anti-vaccine propaganda. And much of this propaganda is religious. Will you tell your state representatives to support legislation repealing the religious exemption for vaccinations?

Like most states, New York requires children to be vaccinated to attend school or day care—unless mom or dad objects on religious grounds. Carving out exemptions to public health law is a form of religious privilege that violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause. It’s also incredibly dangerous, and has already harmed many children through no fault of their own.

Jeffrey Dinowitz, a state assemblyman from the Bronx, has proposed a repeal of New York’s religious exemption law several times in recent years. His bill (A02371) is now picking up momentum as one of his Senate counterparts, Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, has introduced the bill (S02994) in New York’s Senate.

Already, multiple communities in New York have suffered measles outbreaks due to insufficient rates of vaccination among children. The worst of these outbreaks, in Rockland County, was fueled by religious dogma in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish community where 130 confirmed cases have been reported.

The resurgence of contagious diseases like measles risks a public health crisis, and vaccines are the most effective solution, protecting not only those who are vaccinated, but all those who can’t be vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons, stopping diseases like measles from finding enough human hosts to spread throughout the population.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend a vaccination rate of at least 95 percent of the public to stop the spread of contagious diseases. But CDC has found that there are 285 schools in New York with a vaccination rate of less than 85 percent, and 170 of these schools have a vaccination rate of less than 70 percent. These gaps in vaccination are dangerous, unhealthy, and unjustified by the science of vaccines.

We need you tell your state representatives why vaccines are important to you, and why they should repeal New York’s religious exemption. Do you have a child who is vaccinated and free from measles, mumps, rubella, and other deadly illnesses? Do you have a child who, due to an immunodeficiency, relies on our society to protect them through herd immunity? Or do you just care about preventing the spread of disease among your fellow humans? If so, won’t you tell your elected officials?

All you need to do is use our action alert system to send a letter to your representatives in the New York State Assembly and Senate. Take action now!

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