Second Circuit Court: No, The Devil Did Not Make Your Vaccines

Well, look who's all "public health is still a thing!" A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit just upheld a New York state requirement that kids attending public schools must be vaccinated. Nice going, Second Circuit! But it is a tiny bit obnoxious that we are still discussing this issue, so let's please grab onto some science and hang on to it really tightly!

This view that public health (plus, also, all of the other science) is just one of several options -- a tapas bar, really, of choices, rather than something you are basically required to do to keep your goddamned species alive -- is Not Okay. But if Jenny McCarthy says so, plus that contingent of wack anti-vax left-wingers (with whom we usually agree! please come back to us and be our bae!), plus the modern medievalists in the Republican Party, well then, what, it must be true? These are the people making our public health decisions? (Yes. The answer is yes, they sort of are, but not today in New York.) [contextly_sidebar id="uhVGwkZJevg3a2uSJGIJdMLlIIa7qUiq"]

Two plaintiff families in New York City sued the state because New York refused to let their unvaxxed but religiously exempt snowflakes attend school during a chickenpox outbreak, depriving these families of a fun-filled week of chickenpox, plus the exciting opportunity to spread it around some more. The third family sued because the state straight-up denied their request for a religious exemption and excluded their daughter from school until her parents got their shit together, which, sadly, they have not done. We are not sure why New York state denied this family's request, because their not-at-all-stoned-sounding argument goes like this:

Disease is pestilence...and pestilence is from the devil. The devil is germs and disease, which is cancer and any of those things that can take you down. But if you trust in the Lord, these things cannot come near you.

Plus, the mother had  an Important Religious Revelation. What are you going to do if the Bible tells you to ignore one hundred years of public health policy and incredible medical breakthroughs -- science your kids? (Yes. The answer is yes, you should science your kids.)

While we are sure that these families are precious and dear, their arguments make you want to push them straight off a bridge, and that's what the Second Circuit did, writing that "religious objectors are not constitutionally exempt from vaccinations." This is like a sparkling ray of sunshine, this legal decision that upholds science! And medicine! And public health! And informed choices that we make together as a society!  Are you feeling happy? We are so sorry to tell you please to not get used to that unusual and joyous feeling. Because remember our favorite SCOTUS decision that we loathe, Hobby Lobby, and how it means your religious beliefs can get you out of pretty much anything now? We have a sinking feeling that all that "the devil is germs" lady has to do is walk up to Supreme Court Justices Scalia or Roberts or Thomas, and click her heels three times, and say "I sincerely believe. No, no, you guys, sincerely," and miraculously, it will be okay that she's relying on herd immunity for her snowflake to remain alive. All those other suckers can science their kids, and if their too-young-to-be-vaxxed babies die of measles, then omg we cannot even with these people. Can. Not. Even.

[Wall Street Journal / New York Times]


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