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Hundreds gather in Albany as court argues religious exemptions for student vaccinations

August 14, 2019 06:43 PM

Hundreds of people of many different faiths and communities gathered outside the Albany courthouse on Wednesday for arguments over religious exemptions for student vaccinations.

New York students who haven't been vaccinated against measles and other diseases are waiting to hear if they can go back to school.

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The state requires all students be vaccinated, recently making changes to the exception made for parents objected for religious reasons.

Some of those parents are now challenging that change in court, saying it will keep about 26,000 children out of school and daycare.

Lawyers from the state and Children's Health Defense were arguing the issue on Wednesday before a judge in Albany.

There were lines around the block to get into the courthouse. Hallways inside were packed and people stood outside the courtroom in near silence as arguments were made in New York Supreme Court.

The Children's Health Defense filed a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Legislature's recent action to do away with the religious, non-medical exemption for student vaccinations.

Lawmakers voted in June following the biggest measles outbreak in more than 25 years. Most confirmed cases were in New York City.

The governor has said public health and protecting those who medically can't get vaccinated outweighs religious concerns. Lawmakers say you can't ignore science.

A decision is expected in about a week.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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