POLITICS

Mandatory Vaccine Bills Fail In 2 States

03/16/2015 08:21 pm ET | Updated Mar 16, 2015
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Legislation in Oregon and Washington state that would have made it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children failed last week in the wake of the recent measles outbreak that began in nearby California.

The Washington bill, which would have outlawed parents from citing personal or philosophical beliefs to exempt their children from vaccine requirements, failed in the state House on Thursday after its author missed a key deadline, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A similar bill in Oregon, which also would have banned parents from using religion as an exemption, died Wednesday after its author, state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D), said she didn't have enough votes.

Steiner Hayward expressed frustration that vaccine effectiveness continues a subject of intense debate.

"She is disappointed that the conversations have largely revolved around who is right or wrong about science and the benefits vs. risk of vaccines, rather than about the health and well-being of Oregon’s children," said a statement from Steiner Hayward's office emailed to Seattle radio station KPLU.

A similar bill remains afloat in California, one of 19 states that allow personal belief exemptions.

Polling suggests that Americans are largely in favor of making it harder to opt out of vaccines. According to an online survey conducted by Reuters/Ipsos last month, 78 percent of respondents said that all children should be vaccinated "unless there is a direct health risk to them from vaccination."

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