SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- A new bill that would require more children to be vaccinated before they enter California schools passed through the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. The bill has sparked the ire of many anti-vaccination organizations that span the idealogical spectrum.
Senate Bill 277 was authored by Senator Ben Allen from Santa Monica and former pediatrician turned State Senator, Dr. Richard Pan. The statute would limit exemptions from vaccinations to just medical reasons, eliminating exemptions for religious and personal reasons.
Opposition to the bill includes groups who say the bill violates religious freedoms. When an amendment was offered to include religious exemption, Senator Pan rejected it. Spokeswoman Shannan Martinez addressed the religious amendment in a statement to the Los Angeles Times:
"Religious exemptions are vulnerable to abuse and indeed are abused by people whose reasons for not vaccinating are not religious.”
With many committee and floor votes still ahead, the debate is sure to continue.
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Image: California State Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento)