"Smallpox Vaccine" by CDC / Public Domain

Washington Lawmakers Advance Bill to Ban Vaccine Exemptions for Personal Reasons Amid Measles Outbreak

Feb 19, 2019

By Catie Keck

measles outbreak in Washington state has prompted outcry over exemptions that allow residents to opt out of vaccinations for personal or philosophical reasons.

On Friday, a state House committee advanced a bill to bar these exemptions for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for school-age kids. The Health Care and Wellness Committee approved the bill given support primarily from Democrats, with the Seattle Timesreporting the bill’s sponsor Representative Paul Harris was the lone Republican supporter. It will next head to the House Rules Committee before the full chamber, the Times said.

House Bill 1638 passed with a 10-5 vote with full support from nine Democrats. According to Molly Solomon of Oregon Public Broadcasting, Harris said his faith was questioned over his support of the bill. He also said he was “accused of being a baby killer and that I would go to hell for this bill.”

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3 comments on “Washington Lawmakers Advance Bill to Ban Vaccine Exemptions for Personal Reasons Amid Measles Outbreak

  • In Western Australia where I lived for many years there was a neat legal method for giving blood transfusions to the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  A Justice of the Peace, a sort of lay magistrate with legal powers , was always on duty at the police headquarters.  He/she could issue search warrants, remand people into custody and perform other minor, basic legal duties.

     

    If a child of Jehovah’s Witnesses presented at an A&E requiring a transfusion, it took a matter of seconds to obtain a court order, which had full legal authority, and the hospital could perform  the necessaries immediately, without interference or fear of legal action from the parents.  The parents were almost always glad to have the awful responsibility taken from them.

    I wonder if the same tactics could be used in the case of non-vaccinating parents; if they won’t attend to reason, then a court order would take the responsibility from them.  By the time they reached a regular judge to argue the case, it would be too late, anyhow the law could be arranged to make appeals all-but-impossible.

    It is sad to learn that a man so well educated (Harvard, LSE), and so socially and environmentally committed as Robert F Kennedy, should become involved in such arrant, disproved quackery as opposition to vaccination.  He doesn’t remember the polio epidemics of the forties and fifties and I do.  I can still remember the children being carried off to hospital and the crippled boys and girls in school, and the relief I felt when that needle went into my arm.


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