Announced by Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy and Senator Liz Krueger, the legislation would allow anyone 14 years of age or older to receive a variety of immunizations, including the one for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
“Older teenagers, in consultation with their healthcare providers, should have the freedom to make their own decisions about whether or not to protect themselves from long-term health risks by getting vaccinated,” Fahy said in a statement, reports USA Today.
The new bill comes just days after 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger testified before Congress in D.C. During the hearing, the Ohio teen, who made national news when he got vaccinated against the wishes of his anti-vaxx parents, said that the spread of misinformation about vaccines “should be the primary concern of the American people.”
If the bill passes, New York won’t be the first state to allow minors to request vaccinations. Similar measures already exist in Oregon and California. However, unlike the New York proposal, some of those laws require the teens to be evaluated first to ensure they’re mature enough to make their own health decisions.
While the bill is still in committee, it’s already garnered the support of many experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics. The organization told the New York Times, “Young people are often more conscious about the misinformation on the internet and can in many cases disagree with parents who have bought into unfounded and dangerous anti-immunization diatribes and pseudoscience. These young people have a right to protect themselves.”
In addition to Fahy’s legislation, Democratic lawmakers in New York have also proposed a bill that would ban all non-medical exemptions (including religious exemptions) from vaccines.