California has passed an important and controversial new bill that mandates that all children should be vaccinated in order to attend school, regardless of their parents’ personal or religious beliefs.
Senate Bill 277 now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown, Mercury News reports.
“The three great mysteries in life are the Holy Trinity, transubstantiation and Jerry Brown’s mind,” Claremont McKenna College political science professor Jack Pitney told the newspaper.
“He knows the science. I’ve tracked his statements over the years on various issues, and he is aware of the need for vaccinations — he knows how measles spreads,” Pitney said. “The question is whether he sees this as an issue of religious freedom.”
Previously, Brown told the Department of Public Health to allow people “whose religious beliefs preclude vaccinations” to avoid having to obtain a physician’s signature for a vaccination exemption, as required by a 2012 vaccine policy (AB 2109) that he supported.
If enacted into law, SB 277 would make California only the third state that permits only medical exemptions for vaccinations – the other two states are Mississippi and West Virginia.
The new bill is partly inspired by the measles outbreak that began in Disneyland last December, clear proof that not all parents are on the same page when it comes to vaccinating their children.