California legislators voted a bill through a State Senate committee 6-2 on Wednesday that would eliminate parental ability to opt their school-aged children out of required vaccinations, despite a strong showing from parents opposed and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who condemned the bill as “anti-woman and anti-mother” at a rally in Sacramento.
Senate Bill 277, co-authored by Senators Ben Allen Richard Pan, and similar vaccine bills cropped up following a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland last December. The outbreak quickly spread through at least seven states, plus Canada and Mexico.
If it becomes law, the new bill would relinquish parents’ ability to opt children out of vaccinations under “personal belief,” an exemption most often awarded on a loose “Health Care Practitioner Counseled” basis, should the child not receive a more official medical exemption.
RFK, Jr. spoke Tuesday in San Francisco and Sacramento to promote his latest book, Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak, decrying what he says is the dangerous use of thimerosal in vaccines, according to the Contra Costa Times. Thimerosal is described by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as “a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products.” The Times noted the optimism that the bill’s opponents had going into the vote, given recent successful opposition efforts in Washington and Oregon.
“Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, the other co-author of the bill, said part of the reason he signed on to the effort was based on his own family’s history: His father contracted polio while growing up,” the Times reported.
Parents with graduate degrees and those in low-income communities were found to have the greatest levels of under-vaccination, based on a study released earlier this year.
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