(SNews) – California has been hit with a lawsuit filed on behalf of parents regarding the state’s vaccine mandates for schools.
The lawsuit, filed by a conservative group for several parents, comes as Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state legislature are reportedly moving to add the COVID-19 mRNA shots to the list of required inoculations for schoolchildren.
Parents are suing California over a state law that eliminated religious exemptions for school-mandated vaccines.
The federal lawsuit was brought by Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty.
The case, filed Tuesday in the Southern District of California, challenges SB 277, arguing the legislation restricting religious exemptions violates the constitutional rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children.
The complaint lists California’s Democrat Attorney General Rob Bonta as a defendant.
SB 277 was signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown in June 2015 and took effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
The bill eliminated nonmedical exemptions from state-mandated immunizations for children entering public or private schools.
It applies to children enrolled in private or public elementary or secondary schools, daycare centers, and public or private daycares and preschools.
The lawsuit says that, in 2022, the state legislature and Newsom “made attempts to add COVID-19 to the list of required vaccines for school entrance even though the virus poses a small risk to schoolchildren.”
Meanwhile, the complaint argues that California “allows immigrant and homeless children to attend public and private schools without proof of vaccination.”
“California cannot demonstrate that religiously exempt students pose a greater risk than secularly exempt students,” the complaint says.
“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 describes the religious convictions of four parents.
It claims that after conducting their own research, the plaintiffs discovered “many of the required childhood vaccines were derived from aborted fetal cells.”
Some parents, therefore, decided not to continue vaccinating their children because they believed it would make them “complicit in abortion,” which is against their religious beliefs.
The complaint alleges that “even 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.”
One parent started researching after her third child “developed injuries following vaccination, specifically the HepB and MMR vaccines” and was non-verbal until age 6 and later diagnosed with autism.
That child was granted a medical exemption to the vaccine requirement, but the same woman’s younger children, whom she chose not to have vaccinated, were not eligible to register in public or private schools.
“Forty-five states and the District of Columbia currently offer religious exemptions from compulsory school vaccination laws,” the complaint says.
“California is one of only five states that does not offer a religious exemption from compulsory school vaccination laws.”
Advocates for Faith and Freedom says the complaint seeking an injunction and declaratory relief aims to restore the ability for parents and students to lodge a religious objection for those with sincerely held beliefs.
The legal organization predicted that the matter “will ultimately be required to go before the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Robert Tyler, president of Advocates for Faith and Freedom, said:
“Medical autonomy and quality education are not mutually exclusive, and the government should not mandate parents choose one over the other.”