California Law To Stop Vaccine Exemptions

Vaccine ExemptionA passionately debated California bill that would end parental rights of vaccine exemption for their children could lead to tougher laws throughout the nation. Currently, a child may be left unvaccinated if the parents have a personal belief that the vaccine would cause more harm than good.

This law to end the so called “opt-out” provision received a 7-2 vote from the state Senate’s education committee. It would obligate parents to have their children fully vaccinated. The only remaining exemptions would be for children who are already suffering from some other disease or affliction. The bill is a reaction to the recent measles outbreak that happened at Disneyland, which sickened 147 people from at least five states.Dr. Eric Kodish, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spiritual Care, said that California would be carefully scrutinized by the rest of the country if the bill passes. If the number of children who become ill and die from illnesses for which there is an available vaccine decreases, other states would definitely be interested.

Vaccine Exemption Opponents

Opponents of the bill agreed. San Jose mother Elaine Shtein believes her son’s autism is the result of vaccinations. She said that all eyes will be on California. She is one of many concerned parents who are critical of the proposed new law. She recently brought her 7-year-old daughter to a Senate hearing on the subject. Earlier sessions saw emotional testimonies from parents who oppose the bill. Robert Kennedy Jr. testified that the number of vaccine-related injuries suffered by kids was a holocaust.

There was no testimony during the recent session. The Senate voted amidst a gathering of opponents of the bill who were wearing red and brought red roses to signify the children who were injured or killed from vaccinations. Shtein told NBC News that she would rather home-school her daughter than have her vaccinated.

Bioethicist Kodish believes that parents who oppose mandatory vaccinations are forsaking their parental responsibilities in their quest for parental rights. He said that the Disneyland measles outbreak proves that public health threats are more likely if parents choose to not vaccinate their kids. Parents need to be concerned not only for their children but for all children, including those with immune systems that are already compromised. They should be concerned for the safety of all children and not just their own.

California’s size and dense population make it a good proving ground for the law. New Jersey and Texas have also discussed ending vaccine exemptions on the basis of personal belief. Bills to end the exemption in North Carolina, Vermont, Oregon and Washington did not pass.

Shtein also contends that the law would affect adults as well. She argues that teachers, daycare providers and principals would be next in line for mandatory vaccinations. Adults might even be required to show vaccination records just to board planes.

California’s Senate Judiciary Committee will debate the bill’s legal standing next.


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