Group Protests New Vaccination Bills at Capitol

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SACRAMENTO-

New legislation proposed in the California Senate is aimed at taking away the choice from parents who wish to exempt their children from receiving vaccinations.

Parents and medical professionals against forced vaccination, which could become law later this year, demonstrated at the State Capitol Wednesday.

"I trusted that the medical community had my best interest, and my son's best interest at heart," explained Heather Buchanan. "I have found that's not the case unfortunately."

Buchanan came to the Capitol to deliver her story. Her son Oliver has autism, and Buchanan believes it was brought on by her decision to consent to standard vaccinations. It's a guilt Buchanan says, she lives with every day.

"I don't want others to experience what I myself have experienced," she said.

That is why she joined others Wednesday to lobby against the two mandatory vaccination bills, SB 277 and SB 792.

"You could be as informed as much as you wanted to be, but to force a medical procedure on a human being is unethical in it's own right," she said.

Doctor Robert Rowen was there to give his support.

"What they're doing is undermining parental rights," said Rowen. "That State is basically taking over the children, and they're denying what I call 'informed consent.'

The bills would require all children to receive vaccinations prior to attending private or public school, and home-schooled children as well. SB 277 is in direct response to the measles outbreak, in which California was hit the hardest.

The bill not only makes basic vaccines mandatory for school children, but also leaves room for the government to make a vaccination for any other disease mandatory as well, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

There are dueling views on the safety of vaccines. Supporters say it is a step in the right direction for the health and safety of the public to ensure that unnecessary outbreaks of once eradicated diseases don't resurface.

The first hearing for the proposed bills is set for April 8th in the Senate Health Committee.