New York set to cut religious exemption to vaccine mandates

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state may soon eliminate a religious exemption to vaccine mandates in the face of its worst measles outbreak in decades.

The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly are expected to pass legislation Thursday that would eliminate the exemption, which allows parents of children to cite their religious beliefs to opt a child out of the vaccines required for school enrollment.

Similar exemptions are allowed in 46 states, though lawmakers in several states are also considering the elimination of the waiver.

Hundreds of parents of unvaccinated children gathered at New York’s Capitol before Thursday’s vote to protest what several called an assault on religious freedom.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he supporters eliminating the exemption, saying public health is at risk.

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