Why did Gov. Jerry Brown bother signing a law to encourage childhood vaccinations if his immediate intent was to undermine it?
With rising numbers of parents succumbing to discredited fears that childhood inoculations cause autism, AB 2109 was supposed to tighten the state's lax rules that allow parents to exempt their children from vaccinations based on "personal belief." Under the law, parents could still send their children to public school without the vaccinations, but first they would have to submit a form signed by a health professional showing that they had been informed about the risks and benefits of immunization. Brown signed the bill last year.
But even as he signed it, Brown said he would instruct the state Department of Public Health to include a new exemption on the form for religious beliefs. If parents checked that box, they could avoid the vaccinations without the medical visit.
That would render the law meaningless. Personal belief, religious belief — what's the difference? If Brown has his way, an exemption will remain and children will not get the vaccinations they need. The health agency, which is expected to produce the final version of the vaccination form this month, should resist Brown on this change.