published : 2023-11-04

Parents Challenge California Over Religious Exemptions for School-Mandated Vaccines

Lawsuit questions state law restricting religious exemptions for schoolchildren's vaccines

An image of parents holding hands in front of a California state flag, symbolizing their unity in challenging the religious exemptions for school-mandated vaccines. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Several parents, supported by a conservative group, have filed a federal lawsuit against California over a state law that eliminated religious exemptions for school-mandated vaccines.

The lawsuit challenges SB 277, which restricted religious exemptions, arguing that it violates the constitutional rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children.

SB 277 was signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015 and eliminated nonmedical exemptions from state-mandated immunizations for children entering public or private schools.

A close-up shot of a copy of SB 277 legislation, highlighting the text that restricted religious exemptions for immunizations in public or private schools. (Taken with a Canon EOS R)

The lawsuit points out that California allows immigrant and homeless children to attend schools without proof of vaccination, while religiously exempt students are restricted.

The complaint argues that exempt unvaccinated children are still able to participate in various public activities without posing a greater risk than secularly exempt students.

The lawsuit also highlights the concern of parents that some childhood vaccines are derived from aborted fetal cells, and they believe vaccinating their children would make them complicit in abortion.

A group of diverse children playing together in a public park, representing the different perspectives on vaccination and the discussion around exemptions. (Taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III)

Advocates for Faith and Freedom, the nonprofit law firm behind the lawsuit, seeks to restore the ability for parents and students to have religious objections to school vaccinations.

The legal organization believes this matter will ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court for resolution.

The latest update indicates that California dropped its push for a COVID-19 student vaccine mandate.