(LifeSiteNews) — A religious liberty nonprofit has filed a lawsuit against the state of California for refusing to recognize religious exemptions to public school vaccination mandates, declaring the issue may ultimately have to be taken to the United States Supreme Court.
In 2015, former California Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 277, which forbade exemptions from immunization requirements for any reasons other than medical as a condition of enrollment in public or private schools and daycares. Last year, current Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom sought to add the controversial COVID-19 shots to the list of required immunizations, but eventually gave up on the plan.
On October 31, Advocates for Faith & Freedom announced that they have filed a lawsuit challenging SB 277 on behalf of four California parents, arguing that it constitutes religious discrimination and interferes with parents’ right to make health decisions for their children.
Fox News reports that the lawsuit, which names state Attorney General Rob Bonta as a defendant, notes that California “allows immigrant and homeless children to attend public and private schools without proof of vaccination” but “cannot demonstrate that religiously exempt students pose a greater risk than secularly exempt students. The exempt unvaccinated children under SB 277 are still free to sweat in weekend sports leagues together, participate in public extracurricular activities, and sit through hours of services at churches and synagogues.”
The complaint adds that through researching the issue, the plaintiffs came to learn that “many of the required childhood vaccines were derived from aborted fetal cells,” making them “complicit in abortion” by using such vaccines. “[E]ven if a vaccine is not directly associated with aborted fetal cells, they are still made by manufacturers who profit from the use of aborted fetal cells.”
“People of faith should never be discriminated against through legislation,” said AFF vice president and legal counsel Mariah Gondeiro. “We are standing up for parents of all faith backgrounds who want access to a quality education and medical autonomy over their children.”
“Medical autonomy and quality education are not mutually exclusive, and the government should not mandate parents choose one over the other,” added AFF president Robert Tyler.
The suit notes that California is one of only five states without religious exemptions to school vaccine requirements.
Vaccines have always been controversial in some quarters, but concerns over them became more mainstream in recent years with the advent of the COVID-19 shots, which were developed and reviewed in a fraction of the time vaccines usually take under former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative. The dominant COVID shot options in America, manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, have performed ineffectively, been linked to various serious health issues, and present challenges of conscience to religious and pro-life Americans, given the use of cells from aborted babies in their development and/or testing.