In a further erosion of our religious freedom, Connecticut has become the 6th state to end the religious exemption from vaccine requirements for school.
The leaders of the bill said there has been a recent increase in religious exemptions.
Legislators also pointed to the fact that removing this exemption helps prevent ‘potential’ outbreaks of illnesses like measles.
What about those whose religious beliefs aren’t in line with vaccines tested on aborted fetal cell lines?
My body my choice only applies if you want an abortion, not if you are against them.
What about those who feel God fearfully and wonderfully made the human body and it shouldn’t be tainted with the adjuvants and chemicals in vaccines?
What about those of us who see this as the mark of the beast in the bible?
The left only cares about their total control, not about individual liberties.
Vaccine-lovers on Twitter celebrated the removal of religious exemptions in Connecticut:
— Martha Rush O'Mara (@mromara30) April 28, 2021
— Dr. ᐯᗩᒪEᖇIE ᕼOᖇᔕᒪEY 🔬 (@ValerieJHorsley) April 28, 2021
Good for CT! Protecting the health and safety of students and staff has nothing to do with "cramming their version of virtue down anyone's throats" Stupid anti-vaxxers 🤬 Connecticut ends its state religious vaccine exemption https://t.co/9M7mRBtEXK #FoxNews
— Kim Chernecky (@kchernecky) April 29, 2021
@MarkZinni as a education and disabilities advocate, I applaud the CT legislatures passage of the the religious exemption removal. I see parents who cite religious exemptions using their child as a pawn
— James R. Hoyne (@TubieAdvocate) April 28, 2021
Since 1,800 people were turned away from testifying on this bill, written testimonies were available at the hearing for legislators to consider.
Do you think they actually read what concerned citizens had to say?
Or listened to the 3,000+ protestors outside as they voted on the bill?
Sitting on @SenHSomers’ desk is the written testimony of the 1,800 people turned away from testifying at the legislature’s public hearing on the bill to repeal the state’s vaccine religious exemption. The State Senate is debating and voting on this bill today. pic.twitter.com/aRFXcAFsGO
— CT Senate Republicans (@CTSenateGOP) April 27, 2021
CT lost the Religious Exemption. Let the blowback begin on the #FreedomThieves #Connecticut is not a #Constitution State it is @CTDems ConState run by mafia. What was promised or threatened right before the vote? #shame on CT.
— ctbowneyes (@ctbowneyes) April 28, 2021
Sadly Dems ignored the 12 hours, the 3,000 plus that protested, the thousands that didn't make it there (working to pay exorbitantly high taxes) the Parental Rights ripped out of Reach, Religious Exemption died at the Hands of the CT Dems!
Noncompliance huge issue, Pass Card!😡 pic.twitter.com/YzIknUKj9T
— Name an Economic category CT is not bottom 10%? (@gov_ct) April 29, 2021
This is absolute government over reach,, THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE HEALTH OF OUR CHILDREN, just their agenda,,, are you awake yet?
Senate votes to repeal CT's religious exemption to mandatory vaccinations https://t.co/L5t7D4Kbrn
— Papa Honey Dog. P.H.D (@Geno238) April 28, 2021
📷 It was a beautiful day of unity in CT but the tidal wave of tyranny washed over the citizens in a final vote to appeal the Religious Exemption. There will be more work to do… Our hearts are broken. #healthchoice #healthchoiceri… https://t.co/Kt9DqcG9WM
— #NOHPVmandateRI (@MyRightsRI) April 28, 2021
This bill removes all religious protection, forcing parents to chose between vaccinating their kids and sending them to school or homeschooling.
Telling anyone that they must vaccinate their children- despite moral disagreement- is an inconceivable evil.
Thankfully, two groups- CT Freedom Alliance and We the Patriots USA – are standing up with a lawsuit to reinstate religious exemptions.
NBCCT had more on the story:
“This is an issue that I have spent a lot of time researching and discussing with medical experts, and it is something that I take very seriously knowing the public health impact that it has on our children, families, and communities,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement Wednesday.
Wednesday afternoon the CT Freedom Alliance and We the Patrics USA outlined plans to file state and federal lawsuits seeking to reinstate the religious exemptions. They argue the new law is an infringement on their religious freedom and parental rights.
“The notion that somehow the state government gets the right to cram its version of virtue down the throats of every citizen in the state is and ought to be offensive to every Connecticut resident,” said Norm Pattis, an attorney for the groups. He called it “far more chilling” to tell a parent how to raise their child than to expose other children to a “nominal risk” of infection, given the state’s high overall vaccination rate.
Senators began to debate at noon Tuesday and voted, 22-14 in favor of the bill, around 9 p.m.
Proponents contend the legislation, which was amended in the House of Representatives to grandfather in any students with an existing religious exemption beginning with kindergarteners, is needed to prevent a potential outbreak. They cited a slow and steady increase in the number of religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations and declining vaccination rates in some schools.
According to the state Department of Public Health, the number of children claiming a non-medical exemption increased from 7,042 in the 2017-18 school year to 8,328 in 2019-20.
“When you see a clear pattern, it is important to be ahead of the curve and then make sure that we are able to address that,” said Sen. Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, a medical doctor who specializes in lung diseases and treated COVID-19 patients and the vice chairman of the Public Health Committee. The vast majority of families have their children vaccinated in Connecticut.
The debate came less than a week after the state Department of Public Health confirmed a second case of measles in a child living in Fairfield County.
“When it comes to the safety of our children, we need to take an abundance of caution. This legislation is needed to protect our kids against serious illnesses that have been well-controlled for many decades, such as measles, tuberculosis, and whooping cough, but have reemerged. In recent years, the number of children in our state who have not received routine vaccinations has been steadily increasing, which has been mirrored by significant growth in preventable diseases across the nation,” Lamont said in a statement. “I want to make it clear, this law does not take away the choice of parents to make medical decisions for their children. But, if they do choose not to have their children vaccinated, this bill best ensures that other children and their families will not be exposed to these deadly diseases for hours each day in our schools.”
On Tuesday, there were protests outside the state Capitol where people were trying to stop final legislative passage of one of the most contentious bills of the session.
State Capitol police said about 2,000 to 3,000 protesters gathered outside for the Senate session — the second large-scale protest this session against efforts to end the exemption.
Many opponents argue the bill is unnecessary, discriminatory and an infringement on their religious liberties and parental rights. Some who gathered outside held signs with slogans such as “Defend Religious Liberty” and “Coercion is not consent,” and chanted “kill the bill.”
At times during the Senate debate, those chants and shouts from the crowd could be heard inside the marble and granite Capitol building, which is closed to the public because of COVID-19 safety protocols.
Some Republican senators on Tuesday urged their colleagues to listen to the concerns of the opponents, which include both parents with fears about vaccine safety and religious liberty advocates. Some of the bill’s opponents recently sent petitions to the senators that were signed by constituents who demanded they vote against the legislation.
“Are we not listening to the people?” asked Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, who contends parents, not the state of Connecticut, should decide whether their child should be vaccinated. “All you need to do is look outside this building today and look at the gathering of people who have exercised their constitutional right to gather peacefully, to have their voices be heard.”
A couple Democratic senators also voiced their opposition to the bill. Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, spoke about how she refused a swine flu vaccine while serving in the military in 1977, pregnant with her daughter.
“I can’t support this bill when I had the opportunity to say no,” said Osten, who argued parents have the right to make decisions on behalf of their children.
But Anwar said compromises to the legislation were made to address concerns raised by the parents, including grandfathering those with existing exemptions and broadening eligibility for medical exemptions.
“We listened to those families and that compromise allowed us to be able to get to this point,” he said.
The legislation, which includes public and private schools, higher education, day care and child care centers, will take effect with the 2022-23 school year. Critics have said they intend to challenge it in court.
The religious exemption previously allowed parents who do not morally agree with vaccines to use their religious freedom to protect their children.
It is also not easy to get a medical exemption for your child.
Most mainstream doctors do not recognize the negative health consequences of vaccines, so there must be a more ‘serious’ reason for your medical exemption.
As if one is needed!
We should ALL be given a choice whether or not we want to take the vaccine, regardless of religion or medical history.
What Connecticut is doing is downright deplorable!
Ct. sold out it's residents to Big Pharma. No more religious exemption rights for parents. Talk about deplorable.
— C (@SportyGirlC) April 28, 2021
Stamford Advocate had more on the developing lawsuit brought forth by the CT Freedom Alliance and We the Patriots USA:
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut on Friday, was brought by nonprofit group We the Patriots USA, the CT Freedom Alliance, and three parents: Constantina Lora, who has a child in preschool in Bethel; Miriam Hidalgo, whose two young children will be eligible for preschool in the fall in Glastonbury; and Asma Elidrissi, who has one child eligible for preschool in the fall and another who has not yet completed registration for kindergarten. Elidrissi and her family live in Stamford.
All three parents decline vaccinations for religious reasons; Elidrissi and her husband are described as devout Muslims, Hidalgo and her husband as devout Catholics, and Lora and her husband as devout Greek Orthodox believers, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs alleged that the state violated their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion and rights guaranteed under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. They have also claimed unlawful discrimination in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
In addition, they alleged a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because the law allows students in kindergarten through 12th grade who have previously claimed the religious exemption to continue using it, while barring children in pre-kindergarten and day care and any other future enrollees of the school system from refusing vaccinations on religious grounds. It also states that children are allowed to continue claiming medical exemptions but cannot claim the religious exemption.
The plaintiffs asked a judge to find the law unconstitutional and to grant a permanent injunction.
“Today we filed an action in federal court to fight for the right of every child to have equal access to an education, and to freely exercise their religious beliefs, without interference or intimidation from the government,” said Brian Festa, an attorney and co-founder of CT Freedom Alliance, a group that has rallied against the religious exemption legislation passed this week. “We did this because we had to do this. The legislators and the governor of the state of Connecticut have abandoned their oath of office, rushing to pass into a law a bill that they knew full well ran afoul of the U.S. and Connecticut Constitutions.
“We will see this litigation through to the very end, and we are confident that we will gain a victory for the children of Connecticut.”
Festa said he and others will also file a lawsuit in state Superior Court. In addition to the state agencies, the federal suit names the Glastonbury, Bethel and Stamford boards of education.
Connecticut legislators have also failed to acknowledge how a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is being denied for special needs students.
According to FAPE, public schools must provide a child with an education at their expense if they cannot accommodate a child due to disability.
Is @GovNedLamont psychic or sick? Today he’ll remove the Religious Exemption from schoolkids with NO PLAN to educate even students on IEPs. None. And he says NO remote learning next year. YALE public health owns CT. pic.twitter.com/tceiJfHyDq
— Age of Autism (@AgeofAutism) April 28, 2021
This is a violation of the First Amendment and must be treated as such.
Also, the most vulnerable of students- special needs children- are being used as a pawn in the Democrats game of order and control.
And, I would think FAPE could be applied broadly to all students who need accommodations due to religious necessity.
That said, how does Connecticut plan to provide accommodations to those that cannot get the vaccine due to religion? Only time will tell.