Hundreds of anti-vaccine activists were infuriated after New Jersey legislators advanced a bill that would make it tougher for parents to obtain a religious exemption from mandatory immunizations.
Parents howled in outrage after the measure passed by a 7-3 vote, following hours of testimony, and video of the Assembly meeting captures parents shouting out angry comments, reported WKXW-FM.
“You are going to hell!” one parent shouted.
“You Democrats destroy America!” shouted another.
The bill would require students or their guardians to submit a notarized document explaining how vaccines conflict with their religious beliefs, and not just a philosophical or moral objection,
“What human being has the right to judge if my religious beliefs are sincere?" complained parent Hilary Bilkis, of Rockaway. "What will be the litmus test?”
More than 60 opponents testified against the measure, citing religious objections, and another 270 registered their objection but did not address the Assembly.
“I do not believe that our government has the right to pass judgment on whether or not one’s religious practices are genuine,” said parent Brian Malloy, of Red Bank. “Children are and should be entitled to a free and appropriate education regardless of their religious beliefs.”
Another parent, Melissa Machado, of Parsippany, complained that children would be kicked out of school if they did not agree to be forcibly vaccinated.
“With this bill, you’re asking us to prioritize either our children’s education or our children’s health care,” Machado said. “You’re asking us to turn away from our faith and trust the state of New Jersey instead.”
“We are not anti-science,” Macacho added. “We respect science. But we do not worship it.”
One Democrat voted against the measure, and one Republican voted for the bill.
Parents called the lawmakers cowards, traitors and sellouts -- along with various profane names -- as they cast votes in favor of the measure.