California becomes a state divided after the controversial SB 277 vaccination bill is handed to Governor Brown

Parents flock to the Captiol to both celebrate and vent their fury as the 'unsafe vaccine' debate rages on

Aftab Ali
Wednesday 01 July 2015 08:13
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Parents and teachers have been protesting for weeks against ‘one of the strictest school vaccination laws in America’ from coming into force
Parents and teachers have been protesting for weeks against ‘one of the strictest school vaccination laws in America’ from coming into force

All public schoolchildren in California look set to be immunised, after last year’s measles outbreak at Disneyland, in a controversial move that is being branded ‘one of the strictest school vaccination laws in America’.

Having been supported by the Supreme Court, Californian governor, Jerry Brown, was handed a contentious bill – known as SB 277 – to sign and make the move official, although he has not confirmed whether he will be signing it or not.

Immediately after the decision was announced, the governor’s office was swamped with petitions – from both sides – as angry parents gathered on the west steps of the Capitol to blast the decision, unbending on their views that the vaccines are unsafe.

Jude Tovatt, parent to an eight-year-old in the state, vented her fury and said: “I will sue to put my child in school. I will not run from the state that is our home.”

While some unleashed their wrath, other parents cheered the legislative vote.

One such parent, Hannah Henry, mother-of-four who started Vaccinate California – a parental group in support of the bill – said she had full faith the governor would make the right choice: “I know that he is very pro-science and that’s really what this bill comes down to: leadership in public health and supporting evidence-based science.”

Governor Brown’s spokesman, Evan Westrup, repeated, again, what he has said in recent days: “The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered.”

Before, parents could opt-out by making ‘personal belief exemptions’. But, if the bill becomes law, such exemptions would only be granted to those with serious medical issues.

The topic of the vaccines has, so far, been the most heated legislative debate of the year with thousands of parents taking to social media and flocking the Capitol recently to oppose the bill at legislative hearings where even some lawmakers have said that parental rights are being ‘trampled on’.

Governor Brown now has 11 days to decide whether he will sign the bill or not.

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