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Brown v. Smith
California Court of Appeal
235 Cal. Rptr. 3d 218, 24 Cal. App. 5th 1135 (2018)
Sharon Brown and other parents (plaintiffs) brought a lawsuit in response to Senate Bill No. 277 (the bill), which amended California’s compulsory vaccination law to remove an exemption for parents and children with religious objections to vaccinations. A legislative report noted that vaccination rates decreased when exemptions based on belief were allowed. The vaccination mandate required that all children receive vaccines prior to attending public or private schools, day care centers, and the like. Brown sued Karen Smith (defendant) in her official capacity as the director of the State Department of Public Health. Brown’s 38-page complaint argued that vaccines harm and kill children and that this new bill amounted to a dictatorial mandate requiring parents to sacrifice their kids. Brown alleged that the bill violated California’s constitution by abridging rights to freely exercise religion, to get an education, to have equal protection of the laws, and to offer informed consent before being required to participate in medical experiments. Brown argued the bill was not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest and that other less restrictive options for vaccinations were available along with tools such as quarantines in the event of outbreaks of disease. Brown argued that the bill supported discrimination on account of vaccination status. Brown regarded all immunizations as medical experiments. Upon Smith’s demurrer, a trial court dismissed Brown’s complaint, and Brown appealed. On appeal, Brown added additional classifications to her equal-protection claim.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Grimes, J.)
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