In Brown v. Smith, 24 Cal.App5th 1135 (Cal.App. 2d Dist. 2018), the court of appeal ruled that even if strict scrutiny applied, a state law requiring mandatory immunization for schoolchildren, without exemption for personal beliefs after amendment, did not violate the free exercise clause of the state constitution; the right to attend school; the state equal protection clause despite the continuation of other exemptions; or section 24175(a), which prohibits medical experimentation on a person without his or her informed consent. In addition, the court ruled that the medical exemption provision was not void for vagueness. Three of the six plaintiffs described themselves as Christians, two of whom are opposed to the use of fetal cells in vaccines; the third has children who have had most of the recommended vaccinations. The other three plaintiffs allege a philosophical and personal objection to the vaccines. The court determined that the right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease, or the latter to ill health or death. Furthermore, the court found that the right of education is no more sacred than a state's interest in protecting the health and safety of its citizens, and, in particular, schoolchildren.
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Mandatory Immunization Without Exemption for Personal Belief Passes Strict Scrutiny
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