SB 277 Religious Exemption Lawsuit Announcement

Dec 24, 2023

Long Awaited Lawsuit Filed to return
Religious Rights over Vaccines to CA Schools!

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December 22, 2023: A Voice for Choice Advocacy’s lawyers filed a lawsuit on behalf of three plaintiffs claiming the unconstitutionality of California’s School Vaccine Exemption laws.  While California currently allows medical exemptions, as well as exemptions for students on Individualized Education Programs (IEP), in 2015 SB 277 (Pan) removed the ability for parents to exempt their children from vaccines required for public or private school education, due to personal beliefs, including sincere religious beliefs.  This lawsuit argues SB 277 goes against the US Constitution’s First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause and California law must include a Religious Exemption in the statute requiring children to get vaccines to be enrolled in public or private school.  If this lawsuit succeeds it will mean parents of all children in California will be able to exempt their children from school required vaccines if they have sincere religious beliefs.  The brief that was filed can be read here: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/SB-277-Religious-Exemption-Lawsuit-Complaint-122223.pdf

 

The COVID pandemic brought religious rights to the forefront of litigation and made religious exemptions to vaccines more prevalent, given corporate vaccine mandates.  The recent ruling in Mississippi requiring the state to have religious exemptions for school required vaccines shows winning such a case is possible.  The judges currently on the Supreme Court are also more conservative and therefore more likely to rule in favor or religious rights (if they take on this case).  So AVFCA feels now is the ideal time to bring forward this lawsuit arguing that California must have a religious exemption for school required vaccines.  California is much different to Mississippi in its liberal mindset, so AVFCA’s legal team is prepared to take this case all the way to the Supreme Court.  This may take 2-3 years before there is a final ruling, but AVFCA is hopeful there will be wins along the way!

 

What makes this lawsuit different from others?  Three things – The plaintiffs, AVFCA’s history with SB 277 and AVFCA’s legal team.

The fact that the plaintiffs in this lawsuit have sincere religious beliefs against vaccinating their children is clearly evident. Their situations also make it obvious that SB 277 is unconstitutional and has no rational basis:

 

– The Doeschers have a child who is allowed to go to school two days a week as part of an independent study program, but is not allowed to be enrolled in full-time school due to lack of vaccination.  Mr Doescher is the leader of a church youth group and also has a religious exemption to the COVID vaccine at the school he teaches at, which is the same school his child is barred from attending due to their religious beliefs.

– The Jones’ have four children who are all currently homeschooled due to lack of vaccination.  Both parents have been the lead pastors of their church for the past 10 years, but their children cannot attend school due to their religious beliefs.

– The Pattersons have three children who are homeschooled due to lack of vaccination.  Both parents have sincere religious beliefs against vaccinating their children after God told Dr Patterson that this was his fight in 2004.

 

A Voice for Choice Advocacy is the only organization that has been fighting SB 277 and school required vaccine mandates since 2015, both legislatively and legally.  AVFCA is the only organization that has been active in the legislature educating and advocating for health rights on your behalf, year in and year out.  In 2016, A Voice for Choice Advocacy was the only organization that brought forward a lawsuit against SB 277, based on parental rights, bodily autonomy and the fundamental right to education.  While this lawsuit was extremely well written and argued, it was ultimately dismissed by the CA courts, due to a fear that if the judges ruled in our favor, polio would return to California!  AVFCA chose not to take that case to the Supreme Court, as the judges at the time would likely not have ruled in our favor, and thereby would have set bad precedence.  With the filing of this lawsuit, AVFCA is the only organization now sponsoring two active lawsuits that chip away at SB 277, as well as continuing our work in the CA Capitol to make changes legislatively.

 

AVFCA’s legal team on this case, led by Jonathan Nicol, is well versed in Constitutional law and SB 277.  They have a history of significant wins both in lower courts and Appeals courts for individuals and corporate clients.  Jonathan Nicol is also the lead attorney on the SB 277 Titer Testing lawsuit, which AVFCA is sponsoring.

 

What can you do to support this lawsuit?  While AVFCA’s legal team generously charges us a discounted hourly rate, this lawsuit will require hundreds of hours of their time and will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  AVFCA has taken on paying for this lawsuit because of our passion for Health Rights and Medical Freedom, as well as our desire to ensure Religious Rights when it comes to vaccine mandates.  Having said that, our funding comes from our generous donors and supporters – YOU!  So as AVFCA gives you this gift of a lawsuit and our expertise, with the goal of bringing Religious Exemptions to School Vaccine Mandates, we ask you to dig deeply and donate all you can to support AVFCA’s lawsuits and our efforts in 2024.  Thank you in advance for your dedication and support!

 

https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/donate/

 

If you don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a check, use Venmo or use Zelle:

Send Check to: A Voice for Choice Advocacy, 530 Showers Drive #7404, Mountain View CA 94040

Send Venmo to: @avoiceforchoice (Note: you have to search under “Business” to find us)

Send Zelle to: info@avoiceforchoiceadvocacy

 

Thank you for your generosity.  Together we can make change happen!