SYRACUSE, N.Y. (CBS Local) — A mother of five in upstate New York says she and her husband plan to sell their home, quit their jobs, and move to another state after lawmakers repealed their religious exemptions from school vaccination requirements.
“We are prepared to sell everything we have and move out of state so that our healthy children can attend school without vaccines,” Gretchen H. Thompson, of Cato, told Syracuse.com in a story published Wednesday.
Thompson, a dental hygienist, has five children, ranging in age from 4 to 24. She, her husband, a mechanic for UPS, and their oldest sons are fully vaccinated. But her 6-year-old twins and 4-year-old have never been vaccinated.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I’m an ex-vaxxer,” Thompson said.
CNY couple to quit jobs, leave state instead of vaccinating kids https://t.co/Ne8eMD1ofI
— syracuse.com (@syracusedotcom) August 28, 2019
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in June that ended vaccination exemptions based on religious beliefs following the worst measles outbreak in decades.
“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,” Cuomo said in a statement after the bill’s passage.
The law, which was upheld Friday by State Supreme Court Judge Denise Hartman, still allow parents to opt out of vaccinations for health reasons, like a weakened immune system.
The Thompsons say they want to leave the state within a year. In the meantime, they will home-school their three youngest children. But that’s just a short-term solution. They still want children to be educated in a traditional school setting.