Religious anti-vaxxers exposed less than holy tendencies in response to the passage of a New York bill ending non-medical – particularly religious – exemptions from publicly attended school vaccinations.
Parents will still have the option not to vaccinate, but not to force publicly attended schools to accept their unvaccinated children.
All that is unholy broke loose at the state Capitol on Thursday, with opponents of the legislation shouting expletives. One person screamed, "Motherf****r!" in exasperation.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, one of the bill's sponsors, was verbally assaulted on the senate floor after the bill was passed.
The NY Post reported one man in Orthodox religious garb threatened:
"We'll be back for you Jeffrey!"
The Democrat-led Assembly narrowly approved the bill by a 77-53 margin.
It required 76 votes for passage.
According to NPR, lawmakers in the senate advanced the measure by a 36-26 tally.
Dinowitz expressed concern and commented on the backlash from the "religious people" coming from the gallery. Many of the protestors filling the chamber were parents of unvaccinated children.
"I'm sure the hallways are very dangerous for me right now. I think it's very sad that people who are up here in the name of religion were acting anything but."
"Judging by the way some people behaved and judging by the threats that we heard from some people, it would be prudent to exercise some caution."
These disorderly individuals are giving religion a bad name.
The legislation aims to protect unvaccinated children from spreading diseases to classmates amidst some of the largest measles outbreaks seen in decades. The epicenter of the outbreaks in New York state stem from low vaccination rated communities like Rockland County and parts of Brooklyn.
These areas are heavily populated by ultra-Orthodox Jews who some say are merely misinformed about vaccinations.
The controversy surrounding vaccinations was evidenced on Thursday, according to the NY Post, when the health department shut down two more schools in Williamsburg that allowed dozens of unvaccinated students to attend classes.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill on Thursday and declared in a statement that vaccination is the most effective way to protect the public.
"The science is crystal clear: Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe."
"While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health and by signing this measure into law, we will help prevent further transmissions and stop this outbreak right in its tracks."
Dinowitz said he was disappointed over the ensuing chaos in the chamber and hoped that the anti-vaxxers would eventually calm down and "be a little more civilized."
He reiterated that the bill was less about religion than it was about public health.
"It's going to protect children's health and we'll never know which children don't catch a terrible disease, but we know for this bill it will protect children."
He added that he was proud that "science won" with the passage of the bill.
"We should be taking medical advice from medical professionals, not strangers on the internet spreading pseudo-science misinformation."
As of June 10, according to Metro, there have been 588 reported cases of the measles since the outbreak in October.
For those in favor of vaccinations for public health, you can make your views known with this shirt...