Health Law

California lawmakers OK bill requiring parents to vaccinate their children

  • Print.

Woman being vaccinated

Image from Shutterstock.

California lawmakers in the state’s Assembly approved a controversial bill on Thursday that imposes one of the strictest vaccination standards in the nation.

The bill eliminates religious beliefs as a valid reason for rejecting vaccination for once-common infectious childhood diseases, reports the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.). It allows an opt-out option only for children whose doctors say vaccination poses a serious health risk due to medical conditions such as allergies or a compromised immune system.

Those who do not vaccinate their children cannot send them to public school.

The state senate, which approved a similar measure earlier this month, is expected to approve the Assembly bill with minor changes, the newspaper says. Then it will go to the governor for his signature.

“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.”

Opponents protested the legislation, and at least two senators who voted for the vaccination law have been targeted for recall, reports the Orange County Register. One senator said he had closed his district office because of safety concerns.

The Associated Press and the New York Times (reg. req.) also have stories.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Those who refuse vaccinations can cause outbreaks: Should they have to pay for it?” “Should vaccination be required by law?”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.