Anti-Vaxxers Refuse To Immunize Their Children Without A Fight
The anti-vaxxers won’t go down without a fight. They're gathering signatures in an attempt to put a referendum ballot that would give them one last chance to keep not vaccinating their kids.
Inspired in part by the Disney's measles outbreak, California lawmakers came up with SB 277, one of the strictest vaccination measures in the country. It was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on June 30, requiring that all children entering school first be vaccinated against measles, whooping cough and other diseases. It also prevents parents who claim personal or religious beliefs from getting an exemption. It allows only children whose doctors can confirm that they have serious medical conditions to skip the vaccines. Parents who still refuse to vaccinate their children may choose to home-school them.
However, these anti-vaxxers won't go quietly into the immunized night. They've organized as 'Our Kids, Our Choice,' and they were cleared by the state yesterday to begin collecting signatures for a referendum to repeal the measure, the L.A. Times reports.
Former Assemblyman Tom Donelly is spearheading the referendum, claiming it's not about vaccination, but rather "it is about defending the fundamental freedom of a parent to make an informed decision for their children without being unduly penalized by a government that believes it knows best."
Secretary of State Alex Padilla said that the referendum will need the signatures of 365,880 registered voters and must be submitted by September 28, according to City News Service. Only then will it make the November 2016 ballot. If that happens, California's vaccination law would be suspended. Republican consultant and author Allan Hoffenblum told the Times that the number of signatures is advantageous to 'Our Kids, Our Choice' members because it's based on the voter turnout in November 2014, which was at a record low. He said he "would be surprised" if the referendum didn't quality for the November 2016 election. However, when put to voters, he feels like a majority would continue to support mandatory vaccinations.
So far, Donnelly's Facebook closed Facebook group has over 10,000 members, and he says they've raised $10,000. That's not entirely surprising considering some of the biggest opponents of vaccinations are celebrities—like Jim Carrey. They also have a public Facebook page here.