The California House passed a proposal that would outlaw a family’s personal and religious beliefs as reasons to exempt their children from school vaccinations.
The controversial proposal now returns to the Senate, which must approve amendments for so-called SB277 to advance to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. The Senate passed the initial bill in May.
The measure would allow medical exemptions deemed appropriate by the State Department of Public Health, according to a legislative summary.
Opponents include Californians for Vaccine Choice, whose website asserts the law “would eliminate a parent’s right to exempt their children from one, some, or all vaccines, a risk-laden medical procedure.”
“If SB 277 is approved by the Assembly and Governor Brown signs it, California parents will be forced to give their children more than 40 doses of 10 federally recommended vaccines or homeschool unless they can find a doctor to write a medical exemption that doctors deny to 99.99 percent of children under federal guidelines,” the group said.
California Sen. Richard Pan, a pediatrician who co-introduced the proposal, said the measure would close a “vaccine exemption loophole” and has received broad bipartisan support, including from schools.
The House approved the measure 46-30.
“Years of anti-science, anti-vaccine misinformation have taken its toll on immunization rates to the point that the public is now endanger,” Pan said in a statement this month. “Children, pregnant women, seniors and people with cancer, organ transplants and other conditions are counting on us to make sure science prevails.”
Under the proposal, if a parent chooses to not vaccinate their child, the parent would have to home-school their child, participate in a multifamily private home-school or use public school independent study that’s administered by local education agencies, according to Pan and co-sponsor Sen. Ben Allen, former board president of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Both are Democrats.