New Jersey’s Senate did not take a vote on a bill that would have ended religious exemptions to vaccine requirements for students in the state.
Hundreds of protestors rallied in front of the New Jersey statehouse Monday, celebrating when the Senate adjourned without voting on the proposal.
“They can cheer all they want. We’re not walking away from it,” Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney said, according to the New York Times.
“It’s just remarkable how people are looking at this and not trusting the science on it at all. They’re trusting the internet,” he added.
According to the Christian Post, the bill would allow only children with verified medical conditions to be exempt from vaccine laws to attend public or private schools.
The New Jersey Assembly passed the bill 45-25 with six abstentions, according to NBC10, but the Senate passed on the scheduled vote as opponents shouted, “We do not consent” and “In God we trust.”
If the bill is approved, New Jersey would be one of a few states to remove religious exemptions for vaccines. About 45 states and the District of Columbia all allow for religious exemptions for vaccines.
Critics of the bill say it takes away the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their children.
“There is a religious element to vaccines,” said Avi Schnall, the New Jersey director of Agudath Israel of America. “And for the state to eliminate the religious exemption, it sets a precedent, it begins a slippery slope. And it’s not a good place for the state to be telling people, ‘Well, we don’t consider this to be religious, so we are taking it away.’”
Supporters of the bill, however, say the bill is meant for the health and safety of all children.
“There is no exemption for drunk driving or wearing a seat belt, there should not be an exemption from a patently safe vaccine that, if not taken, puts the health and well-being of our children at risk,'' Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg told NBC10.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pornpak Khunatorn
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.