A New York court has rejected a lawsuit brought by an Amish family that challenged the state’s vaccination law.

Justice Daniel Doyle of the New York Supreme Court (which in New York is not the highest court in the state) ruled on Nov. 5 that government officials have the right to mandate vaccinations to ensure public health, reported the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

The case was brought by Jonas Stoltzfus, whose three children attend a private school in Seneca County. In the lawsuit, Stoltzfus asserted that “God made his children ‘right and good’ and to vaccinate his children is to lose faith in God.” Elsewhere the suit asserted, “[T]o rely on a manmade solution would be an act of disbelief in the power of our God to heal and protect us.”

Doyle found the argument unpersuasive. In his ruling, he asserted that “a parent may not assert free exercise [of religion] as a grounds for refusing to obtain medical attention for a child.”

The ruling is not the first to uphold New York’s vaccination law. A separate judge in the New York Supreme Court upheld the law in a ruling issued in August.

Under state law, all children who attend public and private schools, pre-kindergarten and day-care centers must be vaccinated unless they have a valid medical exemption. No exemptions are given for religious reasons.


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