According to the L.A. Times, California’s General Assembly just approved one of the most strict mandatory vaccination law in the U.S., completely eliminating parents from forgoing vaccinating their children due to personal or religious beliefs.
The measure, which has been met with strong opposition of anti-vaxxer groups, requires all children who enter kindergarten in California to be vaccinated against measles and other diseases unless a physician approves a medical exemption based on conditions such as allergies and immune system disorders.
“As a mother, I understand the decisions we make about our children’s health care are deeply personal,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). “While I respect the fundamental right to make that decision as a family, we must balance that with the fact that none of us has the right to endanger others.”
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) opposed the bill, arguing before the vote that it violated parents’ freedom of choice.
“The broadness of this bill likely also dooms it from a constitutional standpoint,” Gatto said, adding that the state was “infringing on the rights of certain students to attend school.”
The legislation was approved this Thursday morning with a bipartisan vote of 46-31.
From the L.A. Times:
The bill was introduced by Democratic state Sens. Richard Pan, a Sacramento pediatrician, and Benjamin Allen of Santa Monica because of concern about low vaccination rates in some communities and an outbreak of measles among some visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim that ended up infecting more than 130 people.
If the bill becomes law, California would be the 32nd state to deny exemptions based on personal or moral beliefs, although it would only be the third state to deny exemptions for religious reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
California’s governor Jerry Brown has not publicly said he would sign the bill, but a statement from his spokesman indicated to the bill’s proponents that they had reason to be optimistic.
“The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered,” said Evan Westrup, the governor’s spokesman.
Watch a report in the story from CBS-13 in the video below: