New Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Bill That Would Repeal Religious Exemptions for Vaccines

Multiple large-scale studies have found that vaccines are safe. There is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Lawmakers in New Jersey will be voting on a bill that would eliminate most religious exemptions for vaccines for schoolchildren in the state.

The vote was set to take place on Monday, after final amendments to the bill were made on Thursday, several outlets have reported.

If voted into law, the bill will prevent parents from using religious exemptions to avoid vaccination requirements in the state’s public schools. They would still be allowed at private schools and private daycare centers, allowing those institutions to decide on vaccination policies for themselves. However, these schools will have to disclose their vaccination rates to all students and their families, according to CNN.

“Everyone is entitled to express their opinions but we have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all children, the people in their lives and in their communities,” Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg told the outlet. She is also a sponsor of the bill.

“We will get this done because it is the right thing to do and I believe we have the support in the Senate to get this legislation approved on Monday with the exemption for private schools and daycare centers that choose to allow unvaccinated students,” she added.

RELATED: Seattle Public Schools Won’t Allow Unvaccinated Kids to Return to Class After Winter Break

Should the bill pass, New Jersey will join five other states — New York, California, West Virginia, Maine and Mississippi —who have voted away religious exemption on vaccinations. New York removed religious exemptions in June after large measles outbreaks occurred in unvaccinated communities around the state.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all 50 states require some specified vaccines for students in their schools, however, exemptions vary state to state. The conference notes that currently, 45 states as well as Washington D.C. grant religious exemptions. On the other hand, 15 states allow philosophical exemptions for those who object to immunizations due to personal beliefs.

On Monday, several opponents to the bill gathered outside of the statehouse to protest. They argue that the bill infringes on their rights as parents to decide what is best for their children.

“I’m against taking all the control out of parents’ hands and putting it in the government’s hands,” Beata Savreski, a mother of three, told CNN. “I grew up in communism. This is worse than communism.”

RELATED: New York Eliminates Religious Exemptions for Vaccinations Despite Protests from Anti-Vaxxer Groups

New Jersey’s bill comes just two months after a new study in the journal Pediatrics found that anti-vaxxers have been increasingly claiming religious exemptions for their children since 2011, even though no major religion explicitly opposes vaccination. The study suggests that parents are replacing personal belief exemptions with a religious one in order to get their children out of vaccinations.

“When you give parents two options in a state, personal belief and …read more



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